Watching the X Games always keeps me cringing in anticipation of the next serious wreck. While everyone enjoys and appreciates extreme feats of strength and agility, it’s hard to watch healthy young people take such dangerous risks with someone inevitably sustaining serious, life-changing (or ending) injuries. What’s so much fun about that? As I get older, it becomes less and less entertaining to watch the youth of the world take such risks.
Ever since having witnessed a young woman snap her elbow backwards trying to ride a bull at the Carbondale rodeo a couple of years ago, even this favorite activity has become difficult to watch. Guess I’m showing my age when I write this, but it was much more distressing to see that happen to a young girl than to a guy. At any rate, it’s not fun watching young folks get hurt.
But these kinds of sports are hard to criticize. At some point in our lives, many of us pursued dangerous activities to the extent of our limits and then some. The problem with the X Games is the age of the contestants. It would all make so much more sense and be more entertaining if we replaced all the kids with us old farts. We should be having Senior X Games! I mean, really, instead of cutting short or crippling the potential of people so early in their lives, it would make much more sense for us old guys and gals, with most of our lives behind us, to go down in glory! Most of us haven’t planned and prepared very well for retirement anyway, so disastrous failures would not bear such grim consequences. What do we have to lose?
What’s the biggest problem on earth? Too many people! And with ever-increasing life expectancies, the fastest-growing demographic is old people. This alone should tell us that safety is way overrated. We clearly need to start curbing safety measures and encouraging high-risk activities for old folks. No more seat belts, helmets or airbags after the age of 60. From then on, we encourage cliff diving, big-wave surfing, cave snorkeling and rattlesnake round-ups!
My wife, Kathy, and I have always practiced the philosophy that, if we partied hearty enough, ate plenty of bacon, eggs and Big Macs and pursued many idiotic activities, we wouldn’t live long enough to have to worry about limping off into the sunset. I rode my first bull on my 47th birthday. We used to fly our small aircraft throughout the mountains and around Mexico in every kind of weather. We engaged in all sorts of extreme travel and activities, often far beyond our abilities and comfort levels. Yet here we are ready for Social Security and pretty much as healthy as ever. Now what are we supposed to do?
Because Senior X Games aren’t likely to catch on, we’ve been thinking about starting an X Games-themed retirement community in Mexico that offers little in the way of health care, but specializes instead in the pursuit of sex, drugs and rock and roll and whatever other risky behaviors we can think up. Our motto would be “Skip the rocking chair, skip the wheel chair and get on this crotch rocket.” We will promote lots of drinking, smoking, drugs and late-night carousing in dangerous neighborhoods. There will be no basket weaving, crochet or quilting circles, but lots of opportunity for skydiving, fly suits, surfing off rocky shoals and swimming with alligators. While not necessarily trying to die, we will do our best to ensure that, if death is encountered, it will be glorious and be will captured on totally awesome videos. No longer will it be only young dumb rednecks that say the famous last words, “here, darlin’, hold my beer and watch this.”
And speaking of young dumb folks, just as medieval villages used to support a town drunk to provide an example to their kids why they should not take up the bottle, our pathetic efforts at being daredevils might help dissuade future generations from pursuing such potentially self-destructive antics. At least until it makes a little more sense to take more chances.
Taking this whole Senior X Games retirement concept a step further, our organization will not allow any of our residents to become cranky. For some reason, it always seems to be old men, rather than old women, that tend to go to from one extreme to the other. We seem to either become totally laid back and easygoing or to turn into completely unbearable grouches. That said, we will not be sexist in our approach to those who become bitchy, whiney or in any other way unpleasant to the company of others. If any such individuals manage to survive all our high-risk activities and yet fail to appreciate and be happy with all the good videos to their credit, the remaining “retirees” will be able to vote them out.
Rather than throw them out into the cold cruel reality of old age and merely imposing their unpleasant disposition on others, we will have a huge “going away” party, during which they will be slipped a “micky” of some sort. We will feature the many of that person’s best, most-death-defying videos while the rest of us go to extremes to make sure that they are happy when they check out.
To ensure a pleasant and productive hereafter, bodies will (by previous arrangement) either be composted and used to fertilize crops or ecosystems of choice or be ground up for hog and chicken feed. This will also provide a “reincarnation” of sorts, at least on a physical level.
Sure, hang out and play with your grandchildren while it’s still fun for everyone, but let’s skip the years of having oatmeal wiped off our stubbly chins and being hugged by total strangers calling us grandpa. X Games is OK as is I suppose, but it could be a whole lot better for everyone if it attracted the appropriate age groups.
Dropping out of high school to pursue the life of a cowboy in Texas, Jim Duke eventually earned a BS in Zoology and an MS on Mountain Goat Habitat in Alaska. He enjoys remote travels to exotic locations, including Patagonia, Upper Amazon, Madagascar and mountain biking across Tibet. Largely unemployable, he works on an “as-tolerated” basis, mostly dealing with equines and compost. “Kiss My Ass” appears monthly in the RFWJ.