I tried to load an entry from where I'm working. But it wouldn't. No matter what browser I used. So I copied and pasted it at home -- and I can't change font sizes or typefaces. Or edit the thing. So you're on your own until I have more time to spend more than ten minutes fixing things. I recommend holding your breath and trying to read this whole thing without stopping.
one gets older -- okay, ME -- and the possibility of croaking begins to loom
large in my legend -- I have started to wonder how I'm going to go. Long,
slow, and painful? Short and sweet? Or some combination of the two? I have
lost more than one friend in recent years to deaths that were never on their
radar as young people. One was a high school football star who could run
like the wind well into his forties. He died of sleep apnea shortly after
he turned 60. He got a disease nobody had ever heard of which required a
heart/liver transplant and left him with chronic diarrhea. To stop him up
they gave him an opium derivative. Unfortunately that can slow your breathing
way down. Way way down. So, one night, after he'd gone to sleep, he just
stopped breathing. Since he used to cheat on his wife pretty regularly, I
think he worried about dying in someone else's saddle more than anything
else. Now that Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and radio
docs are giving him only eighteen months or so, I started to reflect on what
I should prepare myself for. Naturally, I assume that whatever I come up
with will bear no relation to how i really go. I'm sure Senator Kennedy never
dreamed he'd get a brain tumor. He was probably gearing up for a stroke or
a heart attack. I wondered about leaving this world the way Sonny Bono
and one of Robert Kennedy's kids left us -- slamming into a tree on a ski
slope. Dead in a second. On the other hand, probably not, since i don't ski.
In fact, I only ride a gondola up to the top of a mountain so I can eat lunch.
Then I catch a gondola again for the ride back down. How about dying while
climbing up Mt. Everest? That's usually reserved for people who never think
they're going to die. Otherwise they wouldn't be up there in the first place.
Very doubtful I'll be checking out that way. Unless I fall out of a plane,
land on the summit and fall over the side. I do know a guy who had a bad
heart whose insane, thrill seeking wife convinced him to join her on an expedition
to the top. He's dead. Barely got out of base camp. It's one thing to fantasize
about having an heroic death. Reality is usually something entirely different.
And most likely it's something stupid, like passing out into a bowl of soup
and drowning. I was in an earthquake once in LA. At first I thought I had
lost my balance. Then I realized it was a quake. For some reason I wasn't
afraid of dying. Since I had just stepped out of a shower nekkid, I was more
worried about getting some clothes on so I wouldn't have to run outside in
my birthday suit. I reflected on that later. Apparently I'm missing the fear
factor. Maybe it's because I'm older and I don't think I've missed out on
a lot. On the other hand, I procrastinate a lot, too. More and more people
seem to plan their funerals in advance and say good bye to their loved ones
while there's still time, after first hiring a caterer to handle the company
who'll be stopping by after the funeral service. When my time comes I'll
probably be doing something else. Oblivious to my imminent demise. My last
words will be, "Oh, s**t." And not because I'm about to meet the Grim Reaper.
Because there are wet clothes in the washer, my bed isn't made, and my dry
cleaning is hanging on the mail box.