Had a bit of a cold, flu actually, probably pneumonia, well I am a bloke, and my rheumatoid arthritis has been playing up. I was on a drug called sulfasalazine for ten years, which was excellent, then the magic faded. Now started on something called methotrexate, which so far has done bugger all. So, I've been thinking about death.
I've got 12 years or so to go, according to actuarial estimates, which means around the age of 78, I'll be due to pop it. But, of course, they don't say precisely when or how. So annoying. I could make plans, if only I knew. You can decide if and when to conceive, choose the sex of your child, transplant practically every limb and organ, yet when it comes to death, we're in the dark. Before and after.
When our son Jake was about four he asked my wife's mother one day, "Grandma, when are you going to die?" To which Grandma replied, "Soon, I hope."
It would make a great magazine series, asking celebs when and how they want to die, their preferred last words, famous deaths they have admired, oh the scope is endless. I've even got a title - "Death in the Life Of". That's a pinch from a series I did begin, when I was on the Sunday Times mag.
I've worked out roughly when I would not like to go. Not during the football season. I'd be furious to fade away and not know who won the league or the cup that season. So that means some time in June or July. After 11 June, now I think about it, because that's my wedding anniversary. Don't want to let her down. If it happens next year, then please God don't let it be any time in June. I've pencilled in all of June up to the final of the Euro Championships on 4 July.
Looking further ahead, 2006 is going to be awkward as well, what with the next World Cup. Ditto for the years 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018. Death at any time in those next 12 years will be bloody inconvenient, what with World Cups and Euro Cups. I think there might just be a window of about three weeks at the end of July. Are you listening, God?
No, hold on. In July, I usually have to pay my Spurs season ticket, which at present is £975, and my half-year season ticket for Arsenal, now £615, and my Sky subscription, which is £30 a month, in advance, twice, because I also have it in Lakeland - then there's pay-per-view at £40 a season, oh my God, I'll be absolutely gutted to go in July, after I've paid all that. And his dying words were, "I leave my subscriptions to arrrgggggghh . . ."
Then again, I might exceed my actuarial lifespan, getting extra points for good behaviour, never smoking, hardly ever drinking, well not more than a bottle of wine a day. Then the methotrexate could kick in and I'll be playing Sunday football again.
I don't find this topic depressing, though I'm partly saying it out loud, instead of keeping it silent inside, so that by saying it, touch wood, it won't happen. My children think it's awful to talk about death. My wife won't discuss it, but not for that reason. Her motto in life is "Await Events".
It actually cheers me up, thinking of football pleasures still remaining. DV. Three World Cups and four Euro finals, brilliant. During that time I'll probably see three new England managers, Man United and Arsenal reduced to mediocre middle-of-the-tablers, Leeds revived, Spurs winning a game. I've got to hang on long enough to see Bex's next ten hairstyles, Wayne Rooney start shaving, Michael Owen show some facial expressions, Sven caught in bed with another stunner. As for Carlisle United, who knows where they will be. Dead and buried perhaps. It could well be a race between me and CUFC to see who survives the longest.
Yes, so much to look forward to. Gracas ao bom Deus football. I'm working on my Portuguese for next year, so please at least let me live that long. Human beings, nature, life, and football, they all go in seasons. The trick is not to depart in the middle of one.