Prompt 011: Disappearing Trait
11. What is one trait you have today that you might not have in the future? Do you think that change will be for better or for worse and why?
[NOTE: The following entries are related to The Present.]
I could go for the easy stuff: physical capabilities. I won't be able to ride a bicycle forever. I won't be able to have sex forever. The former I was threatened with as recently as a year ago round this time. The latter, well that comes and goes anyway.
But there's memory. I wonder what life will be like when I begin to forget more. I have a tough time now as it is remembering passwords for websites. But what about peoples' faces and names? What about addresses, locations, pivotal experiences?
I remember when I was younger, and I was a big fiend for playing Dungeons & Dragons. It was such an extensive hobby of mine that I used to remark, "I'll be playing this game until the nurse refuses to roll the dice for me in the old folks' home." Nowadays I've since laid that hobby aside, but there are other things that I would want to hang on to, even just to make it from day to day. Not banal snippets like "my first kiss" or whatever. But things like my postal address, or my zip code. Whether or not I took my pills in the morning.
What if dementia takes me prisoner? My brain will shrivel and atrophy, and from it even the sense of adulthood can be wrung out. I remember seeing this video documentary about a woman who spends her time making baby dolls and stuffed toy dogs for old folks in a convalescent center. These people have lived lives twice as long as mine, and they're reduced to only being consoled by a fake baby to hold and care for. There are old men animated only when they hold a stuffed animal toy in their lap.
Do parents even think of their own kids when they see this happen to others? Do they think their children are immune to this?
If I make it to old age like the people in this documentary, maybe I'll have a pension or something that will pay for services to keep me alive. But at that point I'll just be a complete burden on everyone around me. Wearing a daiper, forgetting to eat or drink so someone has to do it for me. I'll have nothing from the rest of the world but its pity or resentment. Who wants that kind of "life" at all?
And what if someone's faculties return, either all at once, or in brief flashes? What sort of panic, dread, or terror would strike them at the moment where they realized where they were, what happened to them, how far they'd fallen from their previous stature as normal, average, relatively healthy adults?
That's not a life. That's the equivalent of a rotten apple. Way past its usefulness.