A Story by Peter Rogerson

What is the value of life?


It has been reported that our Prime Minister, the monstrously inhumane Boris Johnson, decided that the virus raging across the world at the present time in the form of a dangerous pandemic only kills octogenarians and therefore to risk the economy by taking certain measures like an additional lockdown doesn’t make sense. What if old farts die? They’re going to anyway, sooner or later, so they might as well pop their clogs now and let the rest of us accumulate gorgeous piles of cash that we’ll never spend. Because that’s what cash is for, isn’t it? To pile up as a token of our own worth!

Anyway, that’s been reported as his attitude.

Now, I look upon the monarchy as an anachronistic excess that we shouldn’t have to afford, as well as being the head of our state, Queen Elizabeth the second, is well over his dying age of 80. She’s 95. Of course she is! With all the benefits that accrues to leaders of states she’s been provided with advantages that those who are lower down the pecking order will never have. And the dreadful Johnson had to be advised to postpone a scheduled meeting with her because there was quite a lot of Covid (the virus that’s currently being so troublesome) circulating in London and especially in Downing Street.

Now, I don’t wish to imply that I’d like to see Her Majesty dying of anything before her time because I wouldn’t, and I’d particularly hate it if she was incarcerated in an intensive care hospital with oxygen being piped into her lungs. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone because as a way of bidding adieu to the world it leaves a great deal to be desired. I wouldn’t even grin obscenely if the aforementioned Prime Minister ended up that way.

Talking of which, didn’t he claim to have Covid 19 about a year and a bit ago? I seem to recall that he was put in an intensive care bed for three nights and spent a week in hospital, though reportedly didn’t need oxygen, and that he entertained himself by playing sudoku? But if he did have the virus it was a mild dose compared to what some people even younger than him (he was 55 at the time) suffered. Some even died, though they hadn’t reached their 80th birthday.

My point hasn’t been to query the health of royal queens or prime ministers, though. My intention is to briefly comment on life itself.

Back in the 17th century there were dozens of offences for which capital punishment was the prize if the offenders were caught, some of them relatively minor, and capital punishment involved a hangman and a noose. It was considered the best way of controlling a population that included outspoken critics of the rich and powerful as well as hungry, even starving, families at the other end of the spectrum. Times were often hard and the wealthy often made them harder for men and women on the breadline. To take the life of a hungry criminal was looked on as fair game because his life was just about all that could be taken from him. Even the clothes off his back (most likely filthy and lice-ridden) were of no value. So hang him: that would sort the scumbags out if they dared do something criminal.

Our lives, then, are our ultimate possessions. When our last heartbeat flickers to a standstill, that’s it, unless we have some notion of an afterlife. I don’t and rather suspect that my own brief afterlife will be amidst the flames of the local crematorium. But, whatever occurs when I’m too dead to understand it, there will be no tomorrow, no chance to say another goodbye to my loved ones (and there’s quite a tribe of those), nothing. My time, which is all I ever had anyway, will be over.

It doesn’t matter how many years have elapsed since birth. I will have had my experiences, loads of them, and created memories that won’t persist for even a moment after that old heart packs up, a myriad images culled from life and that are stored somewhere inside my head, but they’ll all be gone. For good. Because that’s death and that’s what our wretched prime minister reportedly spoke so casually about when he dismissed octogenarians as too old to bother with.

© Peter Rogerson 31.07.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on July 31, 2021
Last Updated on July 31, 2021
Tags: pandemic, wealth, octogenarians


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 78 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..