My grandmothers are old people, too, but I'm rather fond of them, so I won't make fun of their driving. My grandmother's boyfriend, however, is another story. She met him in the Independent Living community she lives. At 90 years old, I applaud her for being social. On the other hand, he's an annoying old man and when I visit, I wish I could spend time with my grandmother alone. That's just me being selfish.
But about his stories.
But when he's talking to me (or my sister, or my parents, or the other people in the independent living center), he tells us how rich his son is, about the nightclub his son used to own in Atlanta until the schvartzes made the place undesirable, about how he himself gambled at every casino in Vegas and how the guy at Caesar's knew him and comped him for everything, about his elevator key card for the "club floors" which he still keeps in his wallet "just in case", about how Steve Wynn begged him to come gamble in his new casino. Most of his stories revolved around what an awesome gambler he was. Now the man's a few short steps from the grave, he's living alone in a retirement home, his son hasn't spoken to him in 10 years. What was the point? So he could brag to his 90-year old girlfriend's grandson?
There are a lot of things I'd like to do in this life. I want to travel the world, buy a yacht, own a mansion or two, invent a better mousetrap, run a company, be a famous columnist ... Being a big macher at Vegas casinos would be pretty cool. But if that's the biggest accomplishment of my life, shut me up. And if I have nobody to share those stories with except random people in the retirement home cafeteria, shoot me. Because I'll have completely wasted my life anyway.
I've been fortunate in my life so far to be spared from a lot of death. I've known a few people who have died, but baruch hashem they've all been old and lived full lives. But I would think that assuming you have an unlimited amount of time is stupid. If you were to die at 30 or 40 or 50, what would you leave behind. It doesn't matter whether or not you believe in an afterlife. What did you leave here? When you're gone, will anyone ever remember you were here in the first place?
So imagine you A) have no children, B) do nothing during your life that could not have been done by someone else, and C) make no impact before or in the act of your death (like donating the contents of your will to your alma mater). Were you ever really here? And if your answer is yes, then why? Why did you take up my oxygen? Why did you put garbage in my landfills? Why did you waste the valuable real estate it took to bury you?
And forgetting death, once you no longer have the ability to work enough to fund your casino trips, or maybe once your knees have gone enough to keep you from hiking in Europe, or maybe once your heart has gotten bad enough that you can't travel, what then? For your own sake, do you want your last 10 or 20 years spent bragging about what an awesome person you were when you were young? Now that's a depressing thought.