Oscar Wilde mentioned in Dorian Gray that everything was possible since he had beauty and youth. I am very much of that mind set and accordingly the thought of becoming old fills me with revulsion. Horrifically I do not have to apply my imagination to this scenario (and to be frank I would not do so) because I need look no further than my Uncle Robert. He stands in front of the mirror and rants at the cruelty that is reflected back at him. His withered frame a reminder that he is no longer the uber mensch he has always maintained that he was. (He certainly seemed that way when I was a child. I do not remember the details but I do remember his stories about his adventures and achievements. They seemed spectacular and exotic. So tantalising). Now he realises that the charm which he once exuded has worn thin and does not have the allure it once had.
Every day brings a physical or mental insult and he realises that he is becoming a burden on those around him. He will not accept this transition with any grace. Indeed, he refers to his peers as old men but not ever himself. He regards himself as far younger, indeed, I often hear him repeating the things which I say. It is evident to me as the autumn of his life envelopes him that he wishes to remain reflected in my summer sun.
The tricks,the smoke and the mirrors that he once deployed with consummate expertise have deserted him or is it that a lifetime’s exposure to them have enabled those who were on the receiving end to create some kind of immunity to them ? Do they now see through the magic he once was able to weave about him? His deceit and bile are more evident that ever and I know he rarely receives visitors these days, they seem to think that there is little point in being subjected to his put-downs and insults.
His razor-sharp mind has become dulled, probably addled from the excessive alcohol he regularly indulged in (and probably still does) and the noble features have become craggy and distorted. He cannot summon the charm and sophistication to lure people into his world and instead has to rely on provocation, savageness and acidic accusations. His potency has been exhausted and try as he might to scramble away, he is sinking inexorably towards mediocrity and averageness.
I rarely see him but he regularly telephones me and I indulge him allowing him to rage down the telephone line about his injurious state arising from his dilapidated condition. It is worth listening as some of his fury contains choice, vintage lines which I write down for later use. Those barbed words when allied to my youthful charm and brilliance will work marvellously.
Uncle Robert never considered what would happen when madame time outstrode him and his current condition serves as a salutary lesson to our kind. Narcissists do not generally age well. Fortunately, I have been able to see into the future and I can ensure that I do not fall victim to Uncle Robert’s fate, but then, I have always been cleverer than him haven’t I?