The Fountain of Youth and General Tso's Chicken Toss

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Adaptation is the key to survival.

Submitted: February 24, 2015

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Submitted: February 24, 2015

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As you get older, you have to start giving up things.  I grew up playing a rough game of basketball.  No rules, except for one:  No autopsy, no foul.  You always had the option of calling fouls on your opponent.  We respected that.  We just wouldn’t invite you back if you called fouls.  I went to a high school that was almost all white.  Almost everyone who played in these games, aside from me, were on the football team.  I began to refer to our style of play as white football player rules.  If that sounds racist in today’s politically correct world, tough shit.

The name is actually a compliment to many of the blacks I played against.  My observation was that blacks typically would try to beat me with finesse and speed, whites were more likely to try to run over me.  All generalizations have limits.  I played against plenty of whites who could run circles around me without throwing a single elbow.  And more than one black who could play just as dirty as I did.

I accumulated an impressive list of injuries.  I have regretted most of them.  Surgeons can fix some things, not all.  When I was thirty, and at the orthopedic practice for the second time that year, my guy said this:  “Kareem Abdul Jabbar just announced his retirement.  I think it’s time for you to do the same.  At least he got rich accumulating his injuries.  What is your excuse?”

I made a mental note to find an orthopod who wasn’t a smartass.  He was right.  I haven’t played basketball since.

After giving up basketball at 30, it kept going downhill.  At 43, I gave up barre chords, except for B minor and F# minor.  No more Sultans of Swing or Hotel California.  Comfortably Numb and Godzilla were still on the playlist.  And no more complicated stuff.  Three chords were enough, maybe four.

I gave up hanging out in strip clubs at 71, at some point you are just too old for places like that.  Ladies that once were strippers occasionally hang out with me.  At least they did, before my last move.

When I got to 94, I had to quit driving.  After my fifth joint replacement, the reflexes and eyesight just couldn’t keep up.  At 127, I sold the house to a friend.  And rented out a room from her.  When I got to 142, I realized I needed something more than she could give me.  That was when I went all S.R. Hadden.  When you live as long as I have, and learn what I know, you won’t even need to spend your 401K.  It will just sit there and compound away. 

If you don’t know who S. R. Hadden is, watch the movie Contact.  At age 142, I moved to the International Space Station.  And I have been here for the past 14 years.  I am 156 years old, and I am the oldest living member of the human race, on or off the planet. 

Something important I need to get out of the way.  How I have lived so long.  And how I became so influential.  No details, just this.  When I was 56, I discovered the fountain of youth.  I didn’t have to spend a penny to get on the ISS.  Fountain Of Youth Industries has a lot of powerful clients.  It really is all about who you know.

I’m going to have to keep this short.  I tire quickly.  Living in outer space is a trip.  I’ll give you a short, funny story.  And I’ll write more later.

One crew rotation we had a crazy pair of flight engineers, one from Russia, the other from the Czech Republic.  At first they didn’t like each other.  It came close to fisticuffs.  Eventually they became friends.  That’s when the trouble started.

They were always trying to outdo each other.  When no other official crew members were around, they held various competitions that might theoretically or actually be against station rules.  Things that, if they went wrong, might be dangerous.  Or simply humorous, as in this case.

One of the contests was called General Tso’s Chicken Toss.  The Russian and the Czech would toss Chinese food at each other’s open mouth and would have to catch the other’s toss, in their mouths, no hands.  Often they played the game in front of the oldest living American.  Since I didn’t give a shit what anyone did, when it didn’t involve me.  They knew I’d never tell the commander.

Like all the food on the ISS, General Tso’s Chicken comes in a pouch.  It’s very easy to eat and avoid any mess, if you eat like a trained astronaut.  If you are slow tossing a chicken nugget across the gravity free confines of the Space Station, and it is covered with a sticky, sweet sauce…

I had no idea when I popped my neck it would create such a stir.  When you get to my age, just having a neck to pop is a good thing.  I did it reflexively, just as the two Slavs made their respective tosses.  Dimitri got distracted by my vertebral noises.  He glanced toward me for just long enough, when he turned his head back, General Tso hit him squarely in the left nostril. 

Which caught him off guard, made him inhale in surprise, and he sucked enough of the sauce into his nasal passage to cause a fit.  The Russian almost passed out from coughing and sneezing.  The Czech and the American almost passed out from laughing.  That was the last game of General Tso’s Chicken Toss I witnessed.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

I’m sure my faithful readers feel like I am torturing them with my preaching at the end of each story.  If you don’t feel that way, let me know and I’ll preach harder.  But I’ll keep this one short:

Booksie is my fountain of youth.  Individual results will vary.


© Copyright 2017 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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