Charles Joseph Albert

I still haven’t decided whether the mythical Inuit custom was more barbaric than we are now, or less — leaving their elders on an ice floe with one final day’s supply of food — and the ancients may have gone willingly, given that in such a harsh climate, the burden to their children and grandchildren of maintaining their existence may have been so uncomfortable that the cruelty of freezing to death was in fact a kind of beautiful mercy, whereas here in the US we haven’t even legalized physician-assisted suicide, indeed when I asked my own parents “which do you prefer, adult in continents, or youth in Asia?” they did not laugh in a very convinced manner … not sure, I think, how much of a joke the question really was, because the truth is that their upkeep is a burden in this country of barbarously cold capitalism; Mom and Dad didn’t think to provide for their retirement, so now we children take care of them, which is why I can’t afford to pay for college for my own children – at this rate I won’t even be able to afford my own retirement — as the guilt of ungrateful thoughts washes out some of the pleasure of seeing them again as they hobble in, my father settling into a corner chair to re-read the same three pages of his dime-store Western novel, my mother complaining without irony about shiftless immigrants who expect the government to do everything for them, though I am not deluding myself, I do know they have only a short time left, that once they are gone the door will be forever closed and I will never again be have the only bridge to my genealogy, my childhood, my personal history, and the two largest heroes of my childhood.