Thursday, 7 September 2017

My Top 90 Mid-Life Crisis Songs #3: Enjoy Every Sandwich

None of us can deny that we have a far greater life expectancy than our parents did. Even my own parents, both now in their late 80s, have lived far longer than any of their parents did. My last grandparent, my dad's mother, died when I was a teenager. She was in her mid 70s, which was a good age back then. Current life expectancy in the UK is 79.1 for men and 82.8 for women, so both my parents are bucking the odds, but then my dad's old mentor, the man who trained him to be a joiner back in the 50s, lived to be 101.

There's been a lot in the news lately about how the increase in life expectancy in this country has ground to a halt recently and that's been put down to everything from unhealthy lifestyles to austerity to Brexit. My other half works on the legal side of pensions and part of her work involves calculating life expectancy for employers so they know how much money they need in the pension scheme for their former employees. A lot of the pensions industry is in a bit of a mess because of some bad calculations and rubbish predictions 20 years or so ago about just how long we'd all live for after we give up work. Nobody wants to be one of those people who retires then drops dead the following week... but there are probably some companies out there who'd breathe more easily if we did.

Of course, life expectancy is a lottery, and all kinds of horrible things can happen to us on the road to our three score and umpteen. 14 years ago today, one of my favourite singer-songwriters died of cancer at the young age of 56. When asked by US chat-show host David Letterman if his illness had taught him anything about life and death, Warren Zevon famously replied...

"Enjoy every sandwich."


  1. An excellent song but a difficult listen if you have like me recently turned 56!

  2. "Enjoy every sandwich" is a lovely mantra for life! Mine's a cheese & pickle.
    But the thing about getting old that's bothering me now (and which I never used to think about) is that I don't want those last shit years. I honestly think I'd rather die a bit earlier than be stuck in a body that doesn't work properly (and be treated like a second-class citizen) for any prolonged amount of time. Perhaps Denis Leary got it right when he said:
    "Smoking takes ten years off your life. Well it's the ten worst years, isn't it folks? It's the ones at the end! It's the wheelchair, kidney dialysis, adult diaper fucking years. You can have those years! We don't want 'em, alright?"
    - Although not enough to start me smoking - but, still....

  3. I am still slightly freaking out over my decision to "retire" at only 57 but yes, I too work in a place where I have access to the tables required for pension planning and sad to say we're probably not going to live as long as our parents. Like C, I don't want a long life if it's a shit life - Good quote from Mr Leary and an excellent song.

  4. I remember this Letterman appearance vividly. I hope when my time comes I have the courage to face death the same way he did.


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