I have a theory about aging, and I’m not convinced that the people in nursing homes who appear to say random, nonsensical things are actually suffering from dementia or some sort of age-related brain dysfunction. What if all the private jokes/comments/sayings you have with your close friends and family are still appropriate, but everyone who understood these seemingly random comments isn’t around to appreciate it because you’ve outlived them all?
For example, if I’m physically wasting away in a nursing home at age 97 and my husband is long gone, who will understand when I say “Are suntanned boobs better than trampoline boobs?” My husband would understand and actually take the time to answer me. (He would have said no.) However, the nurse who is changing my colostomy bag while having a discussion with another nurse about her daughter who got a bad burn on her previously untanned breasts while at a nude beach on her honeymoon in France didn’t think I had the capacity to understand and thinks that my brain is all but porridge, so she rolls her eyes at the other nurse as they walk out of the room and continue talking about France. (The other nurse has never been but her husband has promised to take her to Paris for their 25th wedding anniversary which is in three and a half years.) The reason my husband understands is because he was there when we were watching The Big Lebowski and, as our daughter walked in to ask a question, he paused the movie so as not to subject her precious, 11-year-old mind to the horrors of R rated filth. In his attempt at viewer discretion, he stopped exactly on a frame of a naked woman on a trampoline. While he fumbled with the remote to remove the image the likes of which we were attempting to shield her from, she espied the boobs and stopped mid-sentence, looked at us, and slowly backed out of the room. Of course, we laughed and he commented about how fantastic trampoline boobs actually are. In fact, he stayed on that image for a while, then played the scene, then backed it up, and then watched a few more times. So the bar has been set at trampoline boobs. The only thing better than trampoline boobs is whatever is being compared paired with said trampoline boobs (e.g. In this case: “Are suntanned boobs better than trampoline boobs?” “No, but suntanned trampoline boobs are better than trampoline boobs.”)
When I’m old and drooling (the drool isn’t because my mind is gone, it’s because I’m physical mess and have lost the capacity to keep saliva in my old mouth,) I’ll say things like “Denise, Deniiiiiiiiiiiise, it says you’ll be showered with good luck!” and no one will understand that it’s my attempt to contribute to a conversation people in the room are having about playing the lottery. Or I’ll mumble “Bill Cosby sweater” in response to the family members who are discussing sleep talking while visiting my roommate in the nursing home (she’s legitimately crazy and they’re not having a conversation with her as much as they are having a conversation amongst themselves while standing near her.) Or I’ll randomly mutter “Say thank you to Jimmy” in a sarcastic voice with a bitter look on my face because I was thinking about unbearably irritating things (so really I’m just talking out loud to myself which pretty much indicates I am losing it, but I’m almost 100 so I’ve earned a little insanity.) No one will be left to understand that the phrase “Thank you. Here’s your change. Have a good one.” is the reason my brother named his mouse Jerome when we were kids. Plus, there are countless movie lines, tv references, and altered song lyrics that will be long lost on the generation that is burdened with witnessing my slow death. Currently, there are people who would understand and appreciate all of these things, but in fifty years they’ll be gone and I’ll be a mumbling, drooly mess with a colostomy bag. But I’ll still have the wherewithal to say “What’s time to a pig?” as I’m wetting my pants.
(By the way, the aforementioned trampoline boobs are apparently pretty popular because Google offered up some thorough suggestions in my attempt to remember what movie they were featured in.)