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If you're reading this

If you're reading this, you're too old to make it matter. If you're reading this you've got an above average I.Q., are at least partially-formally educated, have a pet, still watch local network news and still eat hotdish. You might watch "NOVA." You might take walks in favor of heading to the gym. You might know who Billy Graham was. You might get the reference: "Profiles in Courage."

If you're reading this, you might avoid friends and family because you know they know you've become a hoarder and cannot bear the eye contact, knowing you'd never be able to explain it, since you can't explain it to yourself, 16 packages of Cheetos crumpled on the floor beneath your dying struggle. The ambulance finds you from the neighbor's complaining, not their concerning, which could have helped 18 months ago.

And, if you're reading this, you might be alcoholic. If you're reading this, you might be alone, watching Netflix, dreading the coming home of your wife, whose eyes will dive into yours, looking if you've been drinking, which you have, which you vainly lie about and retire to the other bedroom, sullen and beaten and exhausted and terrified, waiting for her to tell you it's over, which you fantasize about being a relief, but know it will be anything but, compounding your misery and, once again, you consider where the gun is, her loneliness un-thought of — loser.

If you're reading this, you might be past all of that, 17 years sober, 62 years old and a tiny bit self-righteous, leading AA meetings and rolling your eyes at the NA crowd, how disrespectful of "The Steps," mumbling, "At least I never did that."

Or if you're reading this you might be a cop, thinking to yourself that you could have been a back-seat rider in this cruiser a hundred times as a dumb kid with all the crap you did, but now that you're a front seater, screw those punks in the back wearing the cuffs and still attitudinal and a record long as your arm. When will they learn, for Christ's sake?

Or if you're reading this, you could be a high school kid, stuck in detention with no phone privileges and nothing to read but the local paper and thinking: "Who's this old pessimistic dude?" And concluding that old guys are negative as hell and in a split-second realize you'll eventually be the same old dude and recoil against the thought, but too late, it's certainty implanted like a barb in your psyche. And you do the Peter Pan game until you're 35, leader of a local rock band, for the art of it, until some kid the age you are now points at you, snickering to his friends as you tune your guitar, ripped jeans and eye mascara like that guy from Green Day.

Or, if you're reading this, you might be normal.

But still old.