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Jim Duke | Author

Senior X Games

Watching X Games always keeps me cringing in anticipation of the next serious wreck. While everyone enjoys and appreciates extreme feats of strength and agility, it's hard to watch healthy young people take such dangerous risks with someone inevitably sustaining serious, life changing injuries. What's so much fun about that. As I get older, it becomes less and less entertaining to watch the youth of the world take such risks.

Ever since having witnessed a young woman snap her elbow backwards trying to ride a bull at the Carbondale rodeo a couple of years ago, even this favorite activity has become difficult to watch. It's probably very sexist, but it was much more distressing to see that happen to a young girl than to a guy. At any rate, it's not fun watching young folks of either sex get hurt.

But these kinds of sports are hard to criticize. At some point in our lives, we've all pursued dangerous activities to the extent of our limits and then some. The problem with X-games is the age of the contestants. It would all make so much more sense and be more entertaining if we replaced all the kids with us old farts. I mean really, instead of cutting short or limiting the potential of someone so early in their lives, it would make much more sense for us old guys and gals, with most of our lives behind us, to go down in glory! Most of us haven't planned and prepared very well for retirement anyway so disastrous failures would not bear such grim consequences. It's not a big deal to watch an old guy go splat. What do we have to lose?

Seriously! What's the biggest problem on earth? Too many people! And with recent success in curbing our population explosion, the largest demographic is too many old people. This should tell us that safety is way over-rated. We need to start curbing safety measures and encouraging high risk activities for old folks. No more seat belts, helmets or airbags after the age of sixty. From then on, we encourage cliff diving, bare handed boar hunting, cave snorkeling and rattlesnake round-ups.

My wife, Kathy, and I have always practiced the philosophy that if we partied hearty enough, ate plenty of bacon, eggs and big macs and pursued many high-risk activities, we wouldn't live long enough to have to worry about limping off into the sunset. I rode my first bull on my forty seventh birthday. We used to fly our small aircraft throughout the mountains and all around Mexico in every kind of weather. We engaged in all sorts of extreme travel and activities often far beyond our abilities and comfort levels. Yet here we are eligible for social security and pretty much as healthy as ever. Now what are we supposed to do?

Because senior X-games aren't likely to catch on, we've been thinking about starting an X-games theme retirement community in Mexico that offers little in the way of health care, but specializes instead in the old pursuit of sex, drugs and rock and roll as well as many other high-risk activities. Our motto would be 'Skip the rocking chair, skip the wheel chair, and jump on this crotch rocket'. We will promote lots of drinking, smoking, drugs and late-night carousing in dangerous neighborhoods. There will be no basket weaving, crochet, or quilt sewing circles, but lots of opportunity for sky diving, fly suits, surfing off rocky shoals and swimming with alligators. While not necessarily trying to die, we will try to ensure that, if death is encountered, it will be glorious and will be captured on totally awesome videos. It will no longer be only young, dumb rednecks spouting their famous last words of "“"here darlin', hold my beer and watch this".

And speaking of young, dumb folks, just as colonial villages used to support a town drunk to provide a bad example to discourage their youth from taking up the bottle, our pathetic efforts at being dare-devils might help dissuade future generations from pursuing such self-destructive antics. At least until they reach the age that it makes a little more sense to take bigger chances.

Taking this whole senior X-games retirement concept a step further, our organization will not allow anyone to become cranky old folks. For some reason, it always seems to be old men, rather than old women, that tend to go to one extreme or the other. We seem to either become totally laid back and easy going or to turn into completely unbearable old assholes. That said, we will not be sexist in our approach to those that become bitchy, whiney or in any other way unpleasant to the company of others. If any such individuals manage to survive all our high-risk activities, and yet fail to appreciate and be happy with all the good videos to their credit, the remaining 'retirees' will be able to vote them out.

Rather than throw them out into the cold, cruel reality of old age and merely imposing their unpleasant disposition on others, we will have a huge 'going away' party during which they will be slipped a 'micky' of some sort. We will feature the many of that person's best, most death-defying videos while the rest of us go to extremes to make sure that they are happy when they 'check out'.

To ensure a pleasant and productive hereafter, bodies will (by previous arrangement) either be composted and used to fertilize crops, landscapes, or ecosystems of choice, or be ground up for hog and chicken feed. This will also provide a 'reincarnation' of sorts at least on a physical level.

Sure, hang out and play with your grandchildren while it's still fun for everyone, but let's skip the years of having oatmeal drizzle wiped off our stubbly chins and being hugged by total strangers calling us grandpa. X-Games are OK the way they are I suppose, but they could be a whole lot better for everyone if they attracted the appropriate age group.

Practicing what he preaches, Duke, at age 70, recently adopted a three-year-old wild mustang from the Mesa Verde herd and plans to be racing across the Utah deserts before the snow melts in the Colorado high country.

New mustang Hopi