My friend said he’s bought his last barbecue; not because he doesn’t like barbecues, but because he will be dead before it wears out, so he won’t have to worry about a next one. My friend is not sick; he’s just not as young as he once was.
As you get older, you will increasingly have thoughts of this nature.
When the fellow selling asphalt tiles for our new roof told my wife and I, as part of his spiel, that the warranty on the tiles was 25 years, we both laughed. He, being about 30 didn’t know why, and when we told him he didn’t seem to see the humour in it. He may in time.
We are also thinking about getting another tree for our backyard. Not only will it be the last tree we see in that spot, we realize we won’t see it fully grown.
Chances are our next car will be the last one we actually get behind the wheel of and drive poorly.
If we get a pet now, it will likely outlive us. Not if it was a goldfish, maybe. Probably not if it was a hamster. But if it was a horse, certainly.
When you buy the last barbecue or the new roof or the tree or the last car or the pet horse, you’re no longer buying for yourself. There will be consequences for family members and other strangers.
Does one have responsibilities? Arguably, you don’t as you have left the building, so to speak. But we don’t hear the elderly going around saying they don’t care about the environment anymore because they won’t be using the air much longer. Most of us (maybe not Trump) care what happens to those who follow.
So, with an eye to the future that we won’t live to see, here are some reasonable suggestions for what could be done.
Using examples from above one could make sure that new barbecue doesn’t like to explode when lit, that the new roof matches the drapes, that the tree you choose won’t grow into a forty-foot uncontrollable monster like the other one in the backyard which needs to be taken down before it kills someone, that the new car is not a Yaris, and that the horse is friendly, and can perhaps do a few tricks like pretending to laugh, etc. There will likely be rewards at the Golden Gates.
Those are some pretty easy things we could do to make us feel better about the future we won’t benefit from in any way, and it would be nice if that was all there was to it, but if you’re serious, it seems, they are only a beginning. There appears to be a movement growing among a small group from the old folks homes to go even further.
As these folks get even closer to their last minutes and seconds, they believe they must be ever more vigilant. Their radical thinking has gone from “this is my last barbecue”, to “this is my last tube of toothpaste”. For them, the ideal is this: “The day you and your belongings get carried out of your house, the only thing that gets thrown away is you”.
As there is frequently controversy in new movements, it seems like some of them are carrying things way too far.
For example, they purchase consumables like toothpaste, soap, and mouthwash in smaller and smaller containers as they grow older. As they approach 100 years old, for example, the containers become infinitely small. They explain that no one will use someone else’s partially used tube of toothpaste.
Along similar lines, they believe expiration dates on cream, milk and bread must eventually extend farther into the future than they will. Admittedly this is a hard one to gauge but they say it gives them something to aim for.