The Body As Currency

My body is my currency. I pay in energy and with the words of my tongue. My bills are my days and my nights. I work, regaining energy and storing up to spend again. All the while, the fortune I was granted at birth, once accumulating up to the halfway point of my life, starts to empty out and work toward a final poverty.

Unlike paper currency, however, the midway point of that fortune's accumulation is not one I can know, even if I determine its complete depletion. There is no way I can look back on my life or look forward and mark the midway point. All the clever thinkers and obsessers of death were wrong to say that one is dying the moment one is born. No, one accumulates up to a point. Granted, I know all the while that this point is merely a plastic imposition, an illusion I use to measure life. But it is no different with money. Money certainly buys happiness, but at a higher price than itself. With the spending of money, there is a transaction taking place symbolically in which the one spending gives up his right to feel happiness or get by without it. Granted, the world around him may well have designed it this way, but it is up to him how far he wants to meet money halfway. A man who chooses not to live for money must pay with his pride as he begs, inquires, requests and makes rounds, his hole life, living mouth to hand, check to check, job to job, flat to house to room to car to corner. It may be little different for him to live for money, though he must beg for vacation time for certain family events, beg for promotions to match his living and certain paths to achieve stature on an ever upward climb, in direct contradistinction to the path he travels downward after the midday of his life.

He seeks to stave off that midday or, at least, slow down the descent toward death once it is reached and traveled over--by keeping in shape and cutting out all vices and bad habits. The man who spends himself without perturbation on activities which see the fortune of his body diminish quicker has none of the anxiety of theft that the man who spends himself on his body does. The man ever thoughtful of health has an awareness of death even more than other men, for he is ever conscious of the fact that his fortune might be gone in an instant, despite his effort, validifying the devil-may-care attitude he takes toward life. The man who spends his fortune on life may be conscious of death too, but he carries out the economy of his drama in a different way. Knowing that the fortune will not last forever, and spread across a great deal of time, reaching toward the day he grows old and helpless, knowing that it will no longer feel like a fortune but a meager severance granted by youth, he seeks to carve out his own destiny, perhaps even planning for the day of his poverty so that he may do it with style. He gambles with his very life and spends himself recklessly, diving into danger and situations which, if survived, grant him a heightened sense of exaltation. He finds time passing like one in a casino with no windows. It escapes him as he spends his inheritance.