Good news.

Neither Marsha nor I is dead.

It was a simple matter of replacing two triple A batteries in the blood pressure machine.

Last week while getting ready for bed, when I took off my shirt the electricity in my body was so strong that the hair on my arm stood right up straight. I went out in the kitchen to show my wife, Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, and waved my shirt back and forth over my arm. As the hairs swayed to and fro I sang, “And they don’t wear pants on the southern side of France.”

She told me to plug in the humidifier.

How long does that kind of electric charge stay in the body, I wondered. My question was not academic, because five minutes later I was about to put warm distilled water in my sleep apnea machine, and although the bottle was half full, no matter how high I tilted the bottle, no water came out.

It was one of the creepiest things I’d experienced in a long time. Was the electricity in my body keeping the water from coming out of the bottle?

After I figured it out, I posted the question on Facebook, thinking that one of my scientifically oriented friends could explain it to me.

Not one could muster the courage to post an answer.

If you have ever lived or worked with elderly people, you would know that I forgot to take the cap off the bottle.

It has been 10 years since a battery of technicians determined that I would sleep better with an apnea machine. Like your favorite computer programs, the mask I’ve been using will be discontinued, and yesterday I was fitted with a replacement. This mask covers my mouth.

One size does not fit all. The older one hurt the bridge of my nose. The new one hurts because it presses up against the bottom of my nose.

The mask is made for a nose that is flat on the business end like a pig’s snout, or the cute pug-nosed girl who sat next to you in Psychology 101. At the age of 85 it has finally been called to my attention that I have flared nostrils.

It made me realize that just when you think you’re too old to get any pleasure out of spending money, you can see an advantage in being a millionaire. For 5,000 dollars I’m pretty sure I could have a mask custom made to fit my face.

On the other hand, if I were like some millionaires I know, I’d rather live with the pain than part with 5,000 dollars.

We laugh at old people and the way they fumble around. At least we used to. And it is true that it takes most of us much longer to do things than it did 70 years before. Marsha and I don’t even dare to hug unless one of us is braced up against a door so we don’t fall down.

Take a simple thing like going to bed. Ten years ago it would have taken me no time to get into bed, but one night it took me five minutes or more to find my pajamas. They weren’t on their usual hook on the bathroom door and they weren’t draped on a chair. They weren’t under the pillows. Marsha hadn’t thrown them in the wash.

After losing much-needed sleep time poking around in the bedroom, I finally found them. You already know where they were.

My little brother Jim is 81, and when you are 81, it doesn’t hurt to have a good neighbor stop by on a regular basis and see how you are doing. John is one of those friends, and he was pleased to see that, in spite of his advanced age, my brother was doing well.

With the initial pleasantries out of the way, what had John been up to? Oh, John had gone out into his forest and cut down enough spruce trees to build a new house. And when he got them sawed into boards he dug a cellar with his backhoe and then built a house. Of course, he had done a few other things, but that little project alone had taken most of his time since maple syruping.

We can all sympathize with a man who has no alternative but to chop down trees to get lumber to build a house with his own hands. It can be difficult to qualify for a 30-year mortgage when you’re 94.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at:

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