Age 25: Sure, I’ll try rock climbing. No harness? No worries. My life is carefree because I’ve never seen or paid for a medical bill. I watched Free Solo and thought, “Alex Honnold is definitely on his parents’ health insurance.”
Age 26: I will never try rock climbing. In fact, I don’t climb at all—no hills, ladders, or stairs of any kind. My house has a second floor that I’ve never seen because tripping on a carpet, spraining my ankle, and getting an X-ray would cost five hundred dollars.
Age 25: I take my bike out for leisurely rides on I-95, and I don’t wear a helmet because my parents’ health insurance comes with free MRIs.
Age 26: Is riding a bike still fun if my body is covered from head to toe in bubble wrap? If I wear elbow pads, will my broken arm heal without medical intervention? Can I use duct tape and a bottle of ibuprofen to fix my bones?
Age 25: My favorite food group is Gordita Crunch Wraps, and I exclusively drink something called “Rage Juice” from my buddy Scooter’s party jug. I see my gastroenterologist three times a week and take a stomach ulcer medication invented specifically for Sean Evans, host of Hot Ones.
Age 26: I only eat the healthiest food: spinach. Spinach for breakfast. Spinach for lunch. Spinach for dinner. Spinach. Spinach. Spinach. Instead of a doctor, I get medical advice from the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man.
Age 25: I see my therapist so often and am so at peace with the world that the Dalai Lama calls me for advice.
Age 26: When I’m sad, I call my buddy Scooter. His only advice is to take a big swig of his party jug.
Age 25: I stare directly into the sun. Why? I have a crush on my ophthalmologist and want an excuse to see them. LASIK eye surgery isn’t fun, but the bill goes to my parents, and I’m in love!
Age 26: I don’t open my eyes. Ever. I don’t need to spend a hundred dollars on an eye exam because I know that my eyeballs are perfectly preserved underneath the blindfold that I wear at all times.
Age 25: I don’t floss or brush my teeth. Instead, I visit a dental hygienist every morning and night for a quick cleanup. An orthodontist conducts a daily scan for gingivitis. My teeth are so white that my dentist wears sunglasses.
Age 26: I brush my teeth after every bite of food. Each meal takes six hours to eat, but it’s worth it because I don’t have any cavities—at least that’s what my buddy Scooter says, and he owns a magnifying glass.
Age 25: It is my dream to travel to new countries and risk my life in different ways. My platinum insurance plan has international coverage, including free telehealth in the Arctic Circle, which is where I’m going for a meditation retreat with Wim Hof, a.k.a. “The Iceman,” to break the Guinness World Record for the coldest skinny dip.
Age 26: It is my dream to travel to new countries with better healthcare systems, acquire citizenship, and start taking crazy risks like leaving my house.
Age 25: My friend asked if I wanted to go skydiving, so I hurled my body out of an airplane at ten thousand feet. Instead of parachutes, we placed trampolines in the general vicinity of the landing strip. I called the hospital and told them to be ready with a full-body cast.
Age 26: My friend asked if I wanted to go skydiving, and I immediately had a heart attack. I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor, so I died.
Age 25: I see a doctor when I need to.
Age 26: Again: RIP, me.