Upon reading the news of mr. Bla bla from Barbados who happened to be living more than 110 years this morning, I realized how lucky he was. Not many men (I meant creatures with testicles by the word ‘men’) on modern age lived that long. Mostly don’t.
As I remember my high school years, what we students learned in biology textbooks about human reproduction system proved to be virtually true. The male students developed slower and latter; whereas, the female counterparts were a lot faster. And the growth was not only in terms of physical aspect but also psychological and mental aspect. With that slower pace of maturity, how can men also die faster at average?
This is not some groundless, non-sensical assumption. Empirically speaking, I drew this conclusion from my surroundings. My paternal grandfather died when my father was only 12 or 13. In other words, there was no chance I encountered him in any way, listened to his voice, grasped his palms, or even a short session of flying a kite together under the sunlight.
He died of some disease, tubercolosis, or fever, my grandmother obscurely explained. They couldn’t afford going to doctor anyway. Poverty strangled this young couple, with all 6 sons to feed every single day.
On the other hand, my maternal grandfather died in 2005. That was when I was about to graduate from my undergraduate campus in Semarang. I recall being at the hospital near his bed, calculating my grade point average after 4 years of academic struggle only to find myself in faint disappointment. My GPA was no closer to 3.50. Bid farewell to valedictorian speech. Someone had taken the position. Who cared? My grandfather just died several months on the graduation day that same year. Poor him he could not see me suffering from the harsh overly competitive job market of the twentieth century.
His death was too soon to me. He was a former heavy smoker, which means I partially blamed his death on the tobacco and cigarette industry. I know that sounds as foolish as it might be but that is the seemingly most legitimate reason to pick.
One fact I know for certain is both of my grandmothers still breathe today. My paternal grandmother will go to Mecca this year and she is fine for people as old as 70, aside from her scoliosis-ridden spine. My maternal one seems to be enjoying her life in the cool breezy mountainous ridge of Temanggung. Sadly, both are not as socially and professionally productive as they were. When I am at their age someday, I still expect myself to be actively involved in things I am interested in during my younger days so every day brings different nuance, and thus novel challenges (which means brain stimulation to halt the aging process).
“What’s the point you’re trying to make?”I ask myself. My point is to throw a question on why the testicles and testosteron can shorten men’s life span. What is the lesson God wants us to learn from this? Why should men develop later and die faster? As unfair as it may seem, but alas, what can you and I do about it??! Does it convey the message that men are not that strong? That they must not that proud when women at their age are already menopause-ridden and still they can experience a relatively hard ‘boner’, while claiming themselves “lelanange jagat” (Javanese term meaning the most attractive, robust man in the universe) ???