Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Sleaze Disease

--  by Tom Phillips

Last night dreamed I was late for a job -- a fiddling gig -- but was detained by a doctor who said he had to examine me.  Agitated, I submitted.  He wrapped a blood-pressure sleeve around my arm and squeezed.  He poked and gazed.  And then he sat me down for The Talk.

-- Young man, he said, I won't mince words;  you are suffering from a fatal disease.  It's named after the doctor who discovered it, Dr. Walter Sleaze.  The Sleaze Disease.  It's probably a good time to schedule that trip to Europe.

I tried to take it like a man.

-- How long do I have, doc?

-- Three or four years.  But it's hard to tell.  Sometimes it can go on for twenty years.

Even while asleep, it did not escape my attention that this life span was approximately that of any 75-year-old man.  But what the hell is the Sleaze Disease?

There are two ways to "pass away."  For the sake of science let us call them Alka-Seltzer and Bromo-Seltzer (A and B), and use these two well-known medicines as an analogy.  Here's a demonstration from the early days of television.

As you see, with B there is no waiting for the tablet to dissolve.  Those powerful crystals hit the water, and one morning you just don't wake up, like Antonin Scalia at 79.

Way A is the way of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or my mother, who died at 94.  Women are good at this, and have a longer life expectancy.  As things fall apart you just soldier on with Medicare, until the tablet finally dissolves and all the organs fail.

Dotage -- AKA Sleaze Disease -- is the experience of waiting for the tablet to dissolve, feeling the gradual dissolution of body and mind, "little by slowly" as they say in Brooklyn.  For example -- every year, they say, your heart loses one beat per minute from its maximum speed.  You can feel that as you ride the stationary bike into the sunset.  

I'll take the Alka-Seltzer, thanks.  And keep your filthy government hands off my Medicare.

-- Copyright 2016 by Tom Phillips

For more Sleaze, click here


  1. love this, Tom! live long and prosper...and write more.


  2. A little late, Tom, to get back to you, but I always manage. Do they really say "little by slowly" in Brooklyn. Go New Yorkers!

    1. I got that from a long-time Brooklynite.