Cheerful chitchat comes with an expiration date

I’m old. A lot of my friends and family members are old. When we get together over plates of lasagna, we talk briefly about TV shows, the price of milk, 401(k) plans and Slobodan Milosevic.

Gone are the days when we needed to discuss diaper rash and teething. Now when we talk about burping, it’s because someone just belched.

As perfunctory chitchat thins, we eagerly launch into discussions about our health, medical procedures, doctor visits, diagnoses, possible afflictions and random aches and pains.

I took notes at our last gathering. Everyone had so much to say on our current hot topic that it was hard to get a word in edgewise. Here are snips from the conversation:

"Antioxidants all the way."

"My orthopedics will be ready Thursday."

"I’ve already had three epidurals."

"Prednisone is the way to go."

"If only he had gotten on Prozac."

"Can you get a generic?"

"It hurts here, but not here."

"If this knee gives out one more time"

"My insurance paid 80 percent."

"Let me feel that lump."

"You can ride out a toothache."

"This toe, this one here, curls under."


"Didn’t you used to take those yellow pills?"

"The next thing is bifocals."

"The needle didn’t hurt like I thought it would."

"I take my blood pressure at the drugstore."

"My cholesterol dropped."

"I hope our prescription plan holds up."

"Talk about moles!"

"I’ve got one on my shoulder with a hair growing out of it."

"Please put your shirt back on."

"If you rub a newborn’s back, they won’t be hairy."

"This dot is definitely skin cancer."

"Where? I don’t see anything."

"That hospital has the best-looking nurses."

"I think I’m too old to still get that."

"I wish they could operate."

"Here are all my doctors’ business cards."

"Is that something they can screen for?"

"They put the tube down with a camera on the end."

"Wait till they put a tube up with a camera at the end."

"Remember polio?"

"I’ll never have that surgery."

"My anesthesiologist was the best."

"You are supposed to leave on the bandage."

"Who knew they would yank off the whole thing?"

"None of the salves took out the red."

"It radiated from the shoulder down the arm."

"I can take out stitches."

"Use lemon juice for that."

"She should sleep sitting up like that elephant guy."

"How much are Depends?"

"Did you hear who died?"

"Think about trunk space for a wheelchair."

"How big was it?"

"No one is going to go there."

"Three treatments, and it’s over."

"Do they still fuse for that?"

"There’s no cure."

"Who wants to live to be 105?"

"Pass the parmesan."

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