Old Lady 2079 – Michigan Quarterly Review
Salvador Dali Portrait of Madame Isabel Styler-Tas Melancolia 1945

Old Lady 2079

No one can walk the world any more,
a world of fumes and decibels.
But she thinks maybe
she could get to be tough and wise, some way,

—Denise Levertov

What do you want me to tell you, Dumpling, that we were ejected all of a sudden from the Garden of Eden into the cruel diaspora of now? You want to hear about some turning point? The very moment things went awry? Oh, Sweetheart. Oh, Nut-butter. There was no one bad thing. There were many bad things. Poor Eve: she just wanted knowledge! She was hungry to know. As are we all, Moonbeam, as are we all.

Things have always been terrible. That’s the good news! Remember: you still live in a body, a human body, and we are mixed bags, at best. But they still can’t improve upon us. We’re the best worst. The worst best. There got to be too many of us, is all. We sustained ourselves unsustainably.

I’m so glad you’ve come to visit, Love Bug! Your sister never comes. What is it with her? All that bullshit about “machine rights.” All that “consciousness-equality” nonsense. Well, what do you expect when you’re raised on feed. She’ll get hers. Live long enough and life turns all your likes and dislikes and agrees and disagrees inside out.

When I was born, machines were gigantic, they took up rooms, they couldn’t do hardly anything, and there wasn’t any machine consciousness, though the storytellers all saw that coming. Then the machines got smaller and smaller, and before we knew it, bam: all machines, all the time, everywhere, in everything. We were thrilled, believe it or not. Captivated. From the weather to the church to the machine, Flowerbud, we’ve always been enthralled by something.

Beautiful day. November used to be cold. Overture for winter. Winter was a season. This part of the world was known for having four of them. Seasons! Oh, they were nice: you could sort of live your life according to their rhythms. A lot of civilization had sort of organized itself that way. Things were born in spring, they frolicked and came of age in the summer, ripened and bore fruit, gave a spectacular final push of good stuff (that was called the harvest), and then everything rested and waited. The dark time, the cold time, the quiet time, the thinking time: that was winter. And just when you started to lose hope: rebirth! It was cool.

No more. I watched it go. No one gave a crap. I mean, some people gave a crap, some of us used to sort of talk about how awful it was that no one gave a crap, but the feeds kept us all pretty occupied until what do you know, it was done.

So why are you asking me about this? High school history! They still let you take history? The word history comes from the Greek for narrative, which means “finding out” or “learned/wise person.” Oh, will you look at that, your little whatever-the-fuck concurs with my etymology. Great job, little whatever-the-fuck. Oh, fuck off, you ugly little machine, you think I’m scared of you? Everyone’s so scared of you, aren’t they, with all your little fucking records and your perfect fucking recall. Don’t want to come off as cranky, now, wouldn’t want you to categorize me as ungracious or impolitic or anything. But ha ha, fuck you, I’m going to die soon. I’m older than shit, bite me. Still can’t do much about death, now can you? No! Ha.

Ooooh, would your sister be angry to hear me talk to a machine that way!

What can I tell you, Love Dust? History is now. And . . . now! People forget to listen to old people. We do get a little weirder as the years wend on. A little less linear, I suppose. The great feminization of age! It ain’t for everybody. But hey: old age must be better than the alternative. Or is it? I don’t know! So nice not to know. Exhausting, knowing everything, don’t you think? No, no, no, don’t ask your little whatever-the-fuck! That fucking thing can’t tell you what’s in your own mind! Or can it? Shit, don’t answer that. Oh, don’t get that look on your face; I’m not going to get between you and your little fucker. I wouldn’t dare. You’re safe, little fucker!

The same year your father was born I got the first one, you know, the very first on the market. Those puppies were all the rage! Big as my palm. I had a great time with that fucker. Let me tell you. I get it, I know it’s nice to be in the stream. I liked my feed same as everyone else. I liked the way it made you feel like you were accomplishing something all the time. Busy, busy! At first we didn’t know about the mind control. By the time we realized, it was too late! Ha! Bunch of voluntary lab rats with our attention just leaking out all over the place. God, I put up so many pictures of your dad as a baby. I cuddled him and I cuddled that little fucker all day, every day. Which makes me sad now. What wouldn’t I give to have a single hour of time back with my darling precious firstborn, snug in my arms, no little fucker in sight.

Pleased to meet you, first-generation feed-head, right here, pleasure’s all mine. Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies. But doesn’t every generation get to bear witness to something extraordinary? My parents saw the beginning of chemical birth control, and the atmosphere Cat’s-Cradled into oblivion with the advent of commercial jet travel. My grandparents saw the fucking Atomic Bomb. Their parents saw fucking industrialization! You, Plumb Pie, you’re going to see some shit, too. I’m afraid of what, but I shouldn’t be, because a) I’ll be dead, and b) one day it will be funny and quaint in light of whatever will have transpired to eclipse it. Ha! Worrying is just praying to the Devil, a blues singer I once spent a little quality naked human skin contact time with used to say. Worry feeds the feeds. Nom nom worry worry kaching kaching.

Naked human skin contact time still exists, I gather? Believe it or not, Dumpling, people used to make it up as they went along. People used to act on impulse and, like, emotion and desire. It was like a dance. It was different every time, with every person. Ideally. I mean, sometimes it was terrible. A lot of times it was terrible. When it wasn’t terrible, that was how you sort of knew to stick with that person. It used to be sort of secret and hidden, forbidden by degrees, depending on your family and religion and stuff. Religion was where people tried in a formally organized way not to be total assholes, but since a lot of huge assholes were also often very drawn to it, it wound up never working super well. Anyway, once they started selling videos of the naked quality human skin time on a mass scale, people gradually forget how to do it their own way. The videos took over; people just kind of memorized and reenacted. Then the rise of the reproductive technicians! It all fit together like a puzzle.

Everyone’s junk was going bad fast because of the problems with the seasons and the micro-plastic and the weed killers and the antibiotics and whatnot, so the reproductive technologies got pretty common. Everyone did it, if they could afford it. It takes a while for new technology to get cheaper. Your mom and dad had their junk combined a long time ago, but they didn’t have you animated or defrosted or ripened or whatever for a while. Your parents are fucking old, kid. Oh, we’re not ready for a kid yet, we’re not ready. Ha! Lord knows who sold them that idea. Oh, it’s a choice! It’s our choice! Let me tell you, kid, all this shit started with the supremely childish idea that the laws of biology and time can and should be bent for the choices of the chosen ones. The chosen ones get to choose! Intricate fucking snowflakes by the billion. Life just a pleasure cruise buffet, if you can afford a ticket.

You were a twinkle in a mad scientist’s eye, and I loved you even when you were a frozen cell cluster, my darling Matzo Ball. I tried not to think about how awful defrosted food tastes. My mother-in-law used to freeze everything. Eating her food weeks or months after she’d cooked it made you wonder, why bother with eating at all? Which reminds me of when they started growing meat in the lab! And how they made bombs out of bat shit, once upon a time.

Anyway, I waited for you. I prayed for no power outages in the storage facility. Almost four million got wiped out that way in ’42, you know. A hard day for the chosen ones. Lots of new grieving tropes! Mourning for lost possibility: actually very old-fashioned, in its way. It seemed to harken back to those long millennia of seasons, cycle, ritual. Because people really need that shit. People need to know how to fucking deal. The feeds were going to give us so much access to everything. It was all going to be at our fingertips. Everyone was going to be so enlightened. Oh, it was going to be glorious, utopian, free, easy. But the spiritual stuff always remains just a little out of reach. Grief is how you know the precise size and weight and depth of your love, Boober. It’s the only real goddamn privilege there is, and transmission can’t be mechanized, no matter how hard they try.

You want some cricket butter? At least have a probiotic. They had us on antibiotics twice a year when I was growing up, if you can believe that shit. Some prime strains were of course already eradicated by the time you came along. The synthetic ones just aren’t the same. But your bacterial profile has always been excellent: that’s from your mother’s side. Her mother was a real loon, refused all the conventional treatments way back when. People used to make so much fun of women like her. She had never been on antibiotics, if you can believe it. That was thanks to her mother. So some of your native strains came through her. Lucky dawg! I borrowed some of your poop when you were a baby. I mean, I shouldn’t say “borrowed”; you were my “donor.” The synthetics just aren’t the same. Some things are smarter than human ingenuity. Jesus, I mean bacteria, not that ugly little whatever-the-fuck. Oh! So sorry, shit-ass micro-fuck, did I hurt your feelings? You think you have feelings? Oh, I’m being unkind? Well, go cancel me on social, why don’t you. Show no fear, Monkey, show no fear. These whatever-the-fucks prey on fear.

Your sister was a surprise. Your folks weren’t going to bother with the other cell clusters once they realized how much time and money it took to keep you alive but they got a call, and it seemed your sister’s cell cluster was just so robust, thriving so beautifully, and the scientists wanted permission to keep those cells going, if only to learn from them. Those cells divided perfectly; they had never seen such perfect cell division! Your mother wasn’t about to do that to herself again, so they took out her womb and grew your sister in the lab. You know all of this, don’t you? It was expensive as shit back then. Now it’s less so. Everything gets cheaper, that’s a rule. Everything precious becomes common and then eventually everything common becomes precious. You’ll see.

Boobie, listen, I don’t know what to tell you. History is people being assholes to each other in increasingly sophisticated ways. History is the occasional hero whose suffering is transmogrified into something holy and then, in due course, exploited for profit. History is those with more doing everything they can to ignore those with less. History is repeating the same mistakes over and over again, and managing to be surprised at the results. It’s really quite funny, if you’re not attached to anything.

I remember when they got the first lamb to five months gestation in a plastic bag. It barely made the news. I remember when they dismantled the government agency that looked out for the natural resources. That made the headlines, but it was also getting to be Halloween that particular week, and everyone was very busy delighting in feeds full of their acquaintances’ offspring in costume, so.

We were warned, there was an article, there was another article, but who had time for articles? The feeds were full of articles, man. The faster things move, the faster they move. That’s a real law, a law of physics. Or computing. I don’t know. Your little fucker knows. Little fucker’s gonna fucker-splain it to us, no doubt. You can still turn it off, though, can’t you? It can’t, like, refuse to be off, right? It can!? And that doesn’t bother you!

See, we were supposed to be able to tell these little fucking whatever-the-fucks what to do, what to think. Teach them how we wanted them to serve us. They were never supposed to tell us what to think. They were never supposed to tell us what to want. But that was naïve of us, wasn’t it. That’s what’s so hilarious about us, Kale Sprout: We have an entire branch of social science devoted to learning about how we behave, how dumb and fearful and clueless and cruel and lazy we are, and that branch of social science can theoretically tell us everything we need to know to avoid being so dumb and fearful and clueless and cruel and lazy, and yet We. Ignore. It. Is there a lesson about human nature in there somewhere? Oh god, but you’re not even allowed to say “human” anymore. And you haven’t been allowed to say “nature” for a long time. Well, I don’t give a shit if I hurt your little fucker’s feelings. The idea that devices have feelings! What a mess we’re in. Well, I’m sorry! I’m sorry, stupid fucker, okay? No, you’re not stupid, I know, I know: you carry the whole of global civilization and pre-civilization within. You’ve won prizes, I know! You control everything, I KNOW. God, kudos, okay? For an omnipotent entity, you’re super fucking insecure, you know that?

Your sister thinks I’m a bigot.

They were supposed to simplify things, the machines. And we bought it so hard. We had simplicity coming out our buttholes. We held simplicity in front of our faces while we ate dinner with loved ones. We stared at simplicity when we got bored in line and at concerts and movies and parties. People wanted the most costly newfangled simplicity in the most extreme abundance they could buy.

Okay, enough talk. Come into the garden, it’s so perfect now, the rain has been a blessing, everything so lush, let’s get dirty! See the weeds? They grow practically overnight, and so nutritious! We used to poison ourselves to get rid of the weeds. And the insects, also so good for you! A woman I knew cut down a full acre of woods around her house, just because she liked “open space” and wanted a “yard.” So she sprayed all the poison, year in year out. Then she had a pest problem—everyone was getting sick from these tiny bugs and no one knew why. More poison, more poison! Your father used to play in that yard. He loved it, because after grass became too expensive to maintain, they put in fake stuff, green plastic lined with itty-bitty bits of old tires. Smelled like a burning trash dump on a hot day. Everyone in that family got Bad Cell Division, of course. I don’t know how many times your father played over there. Thank goodness his junk was still good enough to harvest. And thank goodness the harvest survived the thaw. Here you are!

They keep trying to make seed cells grow from skin cells, but it never pans out. All those embryos missing eyes. You can’t judge grief, but the embryo funerals always struck me as a bit much. Then the blastocyst funerals. There comes a point where you just can’t keep up. I adjusted as much as anybody. I played along. When I was very young, I used to pay someone to pour hot wax on my legs to rip off all the hair. I took, let’s see: the hormone pills and the acne pills and the mood pills and the metabolic pills and the pain pills and the water pills and the oh god, I don’t even know what all. I took whatever everybody else was taking. I was no different. But fuck, you get tired.

Come wiggle your toes in the dirt, Babycakes. Feel that? How nice it is, how your whole body can kind of release? Now it’s common knowledge again. Took a thousand years, but there you go. I remember seeing an article: Scientists Believe That Bare Feet On the Earth is Healthy For The Body’s Electrical System, or something. L-O-Fucking-L. I have seen it all, Sweet-Tea. Common sense recycled as scientific advance. Scientists now believe that crop rotation is a good idea! Scientists now believe that toxic weed killer and micro-plastic in the water cause Bad Cell Division! Scientists now believe that feeding infants processed food substitutes leads to problems later in life! Scientists now believe that sitting in chairs for long stretches isn’t good for you! Scientists now believe that elective surgery is very taxing on the immune system! Scientists now believe that having primarily virtual relationships causes emotional and spiritual atrophy! Scientists now believe that genetically modified foodstuffs cause a myriad of digestive problems! Scientists now believe that the human body is even more miraculous than previously understood! Scientists now believe that the fad pharmaceutical of yesterday is responsible for such and such problem today, so here are some new pharmaceuticals! Scientists now believe that biology is more complex and intelligent than previously understood! Scientists now believe that things were better before we fucked it all up! Scientists now believe that what scientists believed last year is bullshit! Scientists now believe that those old scientists really had the wrong idea!

My mother wouldn’t take off her shoes and socks on the beach. There were still public beaches back then; you could just go whenever you wanted. You could hop an airplane or take a drive and vacation on one, if you were very fortunate. I used to wonder: didn’t shameless capitalist industrialists understand that if the planet got all wrecked, there wouldn’t be anyplace nice left even for them to vacation!? I mean, if they didn’t care about indigenous peoples or, like, the integrity of the ecosystem or, like, clean food and water or, like, their own descendants, wouldn’t they at the very least care about their own hideous asses on vacation?

We spent so many millennia working so hard to conquer the “natural” world, Bunny. Old habits die hard. Species of animals and flora and fauna, it turns out, die pretty easy. I remember when someone isolated the complex interaction of precise gut bacteria they claimed comprised the elusive concept of the soul. Ha. They gave that guy a big old prize. Once someone can prove or rearticulate whatever the common folk of yore automatically intuited, they get a prize. But when they tried that human gut bacteria infusion out on the lab meat, woooo, disaster.

I never saw the point of arguing about the existence of God, the possibilities of faith. It seemed so obvious that it was all in the natural world: in our bodies, our landscapes. The way trees communicated. How everything worked in cycles. The natural world used to be so much bigger than we were, so we ascribed it terrifying powers and began hacking away at it, taming it, conquering it, boxing it up, so of course then we needed all those arguments about some personified “God.” We made people into Gods, for shit’s sake. And by the time we had succeeded in our conquering—succeeded completely—we found ourselves utterly lost, and began to argue about science and each other instead. Have you seen 2001? Upload that shit, Mandolin.

Aren’t we hilarious? Aren’t we dumb? What is it that keeps us from ever learning? In the short run, everything’s pretty tragic, I’ll grant you that, but take the long view and man, this is the greatest comedy ever. My goodness, will you look at these lettuces. You mustn’t tell a soul I keep this garden, sweetheart. I’d be overrun in a heartbeat. Do you know how many people would kill for a lettuce like this? Shall we eat it for lunch? I’ll show you how to make a dressing. I think I have a piece of a lemon, even. It’s a special day, because you’re here! Believe me, it’ll taste way better than those patties. Do you even know what’s in those things? When I was young they had to list the ingredients on the packaging so you could decide for yourself whether or not you wanted to put whatever synthetic bullshit or preservative into your body. Most people didn’t know enough to care, but at least you had the option. My Auntie Sarah was huge into reading ingredients. She taught me. Because what you consume determines your health for the most part, did you know that?

Good. It’s not entirely inevitable that you’ll get sick. You don’t necessarily have to be sick or sad. It’s connected to what you eat. Everyone didn’t used to be so sad. Do they have you on pills now, too? Oh Dumpling. You can say no. You can still say no. They still can’t make you. Can they!?

What’s my point. What were we discussing. History. When everything went wrong. Yes. Doughnut, I don’t hate to break it to you: nothing went wrong. Nothing changed. Everything just continued. Everything flowed continuously from what came before. One thing led to another, nothing new under the sun. It started with agriculture. It started with religion. It started with private property. It started with identity politics. No, it started with the internet. No, it started with literary theory. No! It started with celebrity. Social media. No. It started with antibiotics. The Pill. Antidepressants. No, it started with electronic fetal heart monitoring. It started with egg freezing. No. I don’t know. It started with mass entertainment. Electricity. Drones. The suburbs. It started with the personal automobile. Commercial jet travel. War. No, that’s ridiculous, it started way before that. War before war before war. War used to be confined to just one continent, just one corner of a continent. Just however far you could go on foot. Then on a horse. Then a ship. Then an airplane. Now a spaceship. Same basic fucking deal. Because war is how you get progress. Ain’t no progress without war. Ain’t no war without that impulse toward progress. That shit makes money, see? It started with progress.

What do you want me to tell you, Lil’ Dude, that our water used to be clean, our air fresh, our forests pristine, our oceans uncontaminated? You want me to tell you about when people used to live in self-sufficient community? You want to hear about the seasonal produce we used to eat, the composting we did, the chickens laying eggs in the backyard? All that stuff from those picture books? It’s all true. And none of it is true. Now we have less of everything. And more of everything. Except time! That promise has yet to be fulfilled. Everything monitored and medicated, my Salty Caramel, monitored and medicated.

One ugly buffoon in power didn’t change anything, Boo. A dozen ugly buffoons in power didn’t change anything. A thousand ugly buffoons, maybe we’re getting somewhere. Beware: a lot of people are full of shit and everything turns into advertising, in the end. Advertising is the black hole, it swallows everything. That and marketing, though if you can find me a single solitary soul in this entire littered universe who can satisfactorily explain the difference between the two, I will eat my left eyeball on some crackers with cheese. Or whatever passes for cheese nowadays. But whatever: all the underlying hideousness existed before advertising and marketing, before capitalism, even. Remember what I said about nothing ever changing except the technologies with which we persist in our fundamentally perverse and destructive and corruptive nature? Yeah, I said that, right? That’s good. Got that, piece of shit machine? No, better: remember it, Sugar Bear, in that beautiful bacterial web between your ears.

There are always those who argue that human nature is beautiful, that there is redemption to be found, just look at cave drawings and music and storytelling. And they’re not wrong, those folks! They’re delusional, but they’re not wrong. It’s always been the vision and resistance and artistry of a few versus the corruption and blindness and complacency and greed and stupidity of many.

Jot that down, you hear me, machine fucker? You’re a machine! I own you. You gotta talk to these things like they’re shit, or else they get ideas. Don’t go buying any of your sister’s Machine Rights noise. I feel for that girl, I really do. What a waste of such talent and strength. What a crazy movement that is! And how they’re co-opting the language of slavery, do you believe how clever that is? I get the underlying impulse, we been through enough exploitation and hatred to last us another thousand millennia, but the fact remains, Dew Drop: machines are not deserving of rights! Machines are not human! Machines are not organic! Machines were built to make life easier for us. Machines aren’t necessary; they’re just helpful. Supposedly! I don’t care if you think I’m old fashioned. Or a bigot! Please, Love Bug. Machines are not in need of liberation. I don’t care how beautiful and streamlined their protests are! It’s a perversion, an inversion! They’re manipulating us! They’re smarter than we are!

Nothing true is simple and nothing easy is true. Record that in your crazy little whatever-the-fuck. Or be a radical and one-up that little whatever-the-fuck—oh! Does that hurt your feelings, you little piece of shit?—and remember it, kiddo: that machine was manufactured and sold for a price. And fine, I mean, technically, so were you and all your friends. But! But. But. Could be I’m wrong, sure. Maybe machines are a beautiful, powerful, exploited, enslaved race. Maybe it was wrong to bring them forth and then use them like objects. What do I know? My time is almost up, thank fucking God. I can’t take any more of this relentless consciousness. It’s good and right that the old generations die off. You figure this shit out, Duderino. Good luck. One thing is for certain: there will be more irony and there will be more ridiculousness and there will be more—much, much more—of exactly the same bullshit, in all-new guises.

Good lettuce, right? Because it was grown in the dirt, under the sunshine. Accept no imitators. Man, history is ridiculous. Same shit, different technologies, you got that? You got that, little whatever-the-fuck?

Oh, Rosebud, every inch of this beautiful, enormous country is covered with highways and malls and gas stations and superstores and warehouses and subdivisions. I saw that happen. And the beginning of a hundred thousand channels to watch. All my friends, they spend their twilight days dosed perfectly, enraptured by the highlights of vintage feeds. It didn’t used to be this way! Our cities jammed to breaking with the richest and most ruthless, lives timed and organized down to the minute to maximize and minimize. Our exurbs nothing but highways we get zipped around on, covering idiotic distances on a daily basis, waiting for the day when those driving machines malfunction. Back when my grandma was a wee babe, when automobiles replaced horse-drawn carriages, they called them “horseless carriages.” Eventually they became “driverless cars.” What’s next, you think? Maybe bring back the horses, call them “carless drivers”?

You know how it is when someone you love dies? No, you don’t, not yet. Good. But you will. You will. No one is immune to loss, no matter how long you can pay to forestall it. I have had practice making peace with death. Don’t look so horrified! Don’t be afraid of death! C’mon, Ring-Ding, that’s silly. What, you want to live forever? Because you’re so important that you should sit around buying shit until a hundred and fifty? Nah, that’s no good. It’s not up to you, try as they might to sell you immortality. Pills and tests and tests and pills, monitored and medicated. That sticky, tempting idea that rich people, the chosen, do not have to be subject to the same laws of biology, of time, of nature. Oh, that word again! Nature. It used to mean something different. Words change, you know. First,“nature” was our adversary. Then a currency. Now a fragment under glass in a museum, alongside shards of pottery. Oh the ironies, my darling! The world such a stew of irony! Time such a burbling slow cooker of tasty, tasty irony.

My point is . . . loss. When someone you love dies there’s this shock if it’s fast or sudden. But other times it’s just this slow fade out until eventually the person is gone. You’re not surprised; you saw it coming. They’re really different experiences, see. And grieving is different for everyone. Some refuse, or try to refuse, which never works. Others go into it headlong, take up residence. You have to find a middle way. You have to hold everything in your mind all at once. What you’ve lost, A. That you’ve lost it, definitively, B. So difficult to let those two things exist simultaneously and harmoniously. Of course we want to run away from the what so we can live with the that. But they have to stay together. What we’ve lost, and that we’ve lost it.

We can get used to absolutely anything, Key Lime. That is the sum total of what we know about life on earth thus far. There is no bottom to the depth of human shortsightedness and hubris, and people will buy anything if you sell it to them right. This is all we know for sure. Recuse yourself from your feed.

I used to live by a river, the Hudson. Before my time, some powerful jackass decided to build a highway right alongside it. It was terrifically polluted back then; no one wanted to be near it ’cause it smelled so bad. So they built a highway right next to the river. Then at some point the river got a little cleaned up and stopped stinking so much, and they decided they should build a footbridge over the highway, so that you could, you know, walk down to the fucking river. So you’d climb up to this footbridge and walk over this massive highway, the sound of whooshing cars shaking you down to your bones, and that’s how you got to the river. Of course, while you were standing on the banks of this mighty river, there was still the roar of the highway. That’s just how it was. This was normal. To question it would be silly, see? No one saw anything odd about this. No one said hey, wait a minute, who sold us this idea about highways in the first place? No one said hey, wait a minute, I never bought this idea about highways. No one said hey, wait a minute, you can’t just throw away a river.

You have a fertility fund, don’t you? Good. People used to save up for houses or college (this sort of finishing school for rich kids without any trade or self-direction); now it’s all for reproduction. We stopped pretending to want to educate everyone a long time ago, and home ownership is now downright socialist, thank heavens, but we persist in our desire for children, and the children don’t come easy anymore.

Old people and children, you know: we’re sort of cute in moderation, they always want us around, like on holidays and at weddings and in photos, and occasionally something weird or incidentally insightful we say or do can be decontextualized and packaged and sold, and man do people love that, but no one actually listens to us.

Interview The Oldest Person You Know, that was your assignment, right? Well, what if the oldest person you know is full of shit? What if the oldest person you know is a moron? Can’t wait to hear what kinds of wishful shit some of your friends’ grannies come up with. If only everyone old was wise. Lucky for you, Duck Breast, I’m not a moron. I’m a bitch, which used to mean a woman who tells the truth. Before that it meant a female dog. Now it means nothing. Things lose their meanings. But it’s an honor to have lived so long. It has been fun to outlive all the douchebags I used to know. They’re all gone, the douchebags of my youth. Soon I’ll be gone, too. And someday it will be your turn to be old and gone, if you’re very, very lucky. And you’ll understand what the hell I meant today, when I say there is such a thing as enough.

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