“This aging stuff is fascinating,” the aging man said to his companion. “It’s like I’m slowly melting. Everything is falling apart or congealing into a tub of goo, and my mind sees it all happening and is powerless to change the inevitable.”
“You could exercise, lose weight, wrap your aching joints, take an aspirin,” his companion suggested.
“The inevitable would still be inevitable.”
“Of course. But you could delay it, give yourself some extra years to work with.”
“There’s that,” he admitted, sipping his coffee. Rather than set the cup down, he cradled it against his chest, using his prodigious belly as a shelf, feeling the warmth against his fingers. “I want for it to all have meant something, you know? I want to have inspired someone or been a good example. I suppose I could inspire by being a bad example — ‘Don’t be this guy, children’ — but wouldn’t it be better to fill others’ souls with hope and desire and a drive to greatness?”
“How do you know that hasn’t already happened?” replied the companion.
“Wouldn’t I know?”
“Maybe, maybe not. Maybe you’ve written something like It’s A Wonderful Life and no one will find it until 30 years from now, you know, maybe that thing you wrote way back when will resonate with the next generation.”
“I see what you mean. I’m always digging through old stuff looking for that hidden gem no one has noticed, so I can lift it up and say, ‘Look here, isn’t this fine? Look at this, listen to that.’ And I love when I’ve been saying that for years and suddenly people have finally seen and heard.”
“There you have it,” assured the friend. “It’s not for you to fully know what you’ve accomplished, maybe. Maybe someone like you, who searches for the hidden gems, will stumble across your stumbling 50 years from now and think, ‘Well, look here, isn’t this fine? I need to share this.’”
“I do like to share …”