EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR

Warning! Profligate use of exclamation marks ahead! Good grief! I have just about had enough of the internet, following me about like some creepy stalker-hawker! So yes, I confess, I am a man of a certain age but I don’t in any way identify with the irresistible slip towards terminal decline. So why does the internet insist on flashing its late age wares at me? No sooner have I alighted on any given web page than an ad appears trying to tempt me with a blood test to prove I don’t have a condition that I don’t have. Or maybe my prostate needs a jolly up or perhaps I could use a hearing aid that I can’t see or find with my as yet unlasered eyes and would I like a very quiet ocean cruise free from the trauma of other people’s children and all traces of fun? No I bloody wouldn’t. Sorry but I’m not quite ready to sit up the back of the bus in a cellophane rain hat and a man nappy.

Clearly I have crossed some computational threshold, the arbitrary number attached to me by something as random as the Earth’s orbit of the sun has reached a tipping point. Computer says, I am now an old man. Just this morning, whilst sitting on my bed listening to the Ting Tings, musing about how tricky it was to pick up fingernail clippings off the screen of a horizontal iPad once you have cut your fingernails, my futile pawing triggered an inadvertent pop-up extolling the virtues of a mounted shower bench. Seriously! Some AI somewhere thought to itself, what that old type Richard Baker needs is a nice sit down in the shower, me! The man with a wife who goes to crossfit five times a week!

I refute the very idea of age, getting old is a conspiracy, I am my consciousness not my flesh and my consciousness is constantly renewed. The vehicle may have a few miles on the clock but the driver is a teenager with a fresh licence burning a hole in his pocket. I will not be pushed and prodded out to pasture, I live in the present not the future mister internet! And certainly not a future where you can make money out of my irrational fear of a potential spot of wee on the front of my trousers.

We are all simultaneously young and old, living out our youthful dotage in a present future that will always look a lot like Milton Keynes, where we never change and every house has a trampoline and a stair lift and where the end of today is directly connected to the beginning of this morning like some temporal version of the human centipede. We all stand absolutely still, fixed points, while the very fabric of our bodies teems like the white noise eddies on a untuned seventies television set, a television set I can clearly remember because I only turned it on a moment ago. So please mister internet, stop pursuing me, stop trying to sell stuff to an old person who doesn’t exist, who will never exist, a person who, like everyone else, is forever young.

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