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Let Go Today, Die Laughing Tomorrow

I didn't know what the first sign of old age would be. I'm sure it's different for everyone: a persistent ache here or there, a rounding of the belly, the first pair of eyeglasses. I've had all of these sneak up on me, but I fought off the aches and the belly, and I can cheat on the glasses unless I'm reading.

For me, the first sign of age has been a slow but definite (deafening?) loss of hearing. Tinnitus screams at me all day, particularly during quiet moments, as now, when I'm sitting peacefully in front of my computer in the pinkening dusk of a solitary evening. Joggers drift by on the street outside my window; squirrels are putting themselves to bed in my pecan trees; a last, lazy dove flaps in to settle beside her mate. I can hear the cars going by on a nearby busy street, and the wind brushing through the fall leaves. But above all that, tinnitus screeches and howls. 
It's all in my head. Or, more precisely, the microscopic parts of my eardrums. They…

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