Category: Mortality

Mr. Nobody

The 2009 science-fiction movie “Mr. Nobody” evaded our radar during its initial release. Now it’s on our very slim shelf of films “worth watching again.” Directed by Jaco van Dormael and starring a precociously talented Jared Leto, “Nobody” has a central story — a boy on a train platform who is made to choose between divorcing...

In Memoriam

Because Monday is the one day a year we set aside to remember our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, strangers and friends who have perished while serving our great country by killing other people’s brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, we figured we’d get the rest of our memorializing out of the way, big-box...

Poem: Instead of Telling

Let me show you my gift. Telling has been discouraged. If it hadn’t, I would be telling you that I can see into the future, years ahead. Instead I shall show you my alleged gift, and I’ll hope, as I always do when I remember, that what I share will be useful to you. I...

Poem: Scandal

IN MEMORY OF EUGENE KONIK, born February 27, 1936. R.I.P.   And although I don’t share your candid misanthropy I understand and I am sorry. Father who left us all too soon I understand and I am sorry. Our species, the one you claimed to despise, having peered inside yourself and all around the carousel, having...

Demoting a Hero

This is no joke. This is an outrage. One of our real American heroes, Sgt. Robert W. Richards, a Marine sniper, pleaded guilty to “dereliction of duty” and “conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.” He was demoted to corporal. Lower pay. Fewer stripes. At least he was permitted to keep his retirement health benefits....

Bad Endings

I helped an old man load his groceries into the trunk of his car, which was parked curbside near the entrance to a 99-Cent store. He walked with a cane and seemed to have trouble handling his bags. A watermelon had fallen to the sidewalk, somehow escaping unblemished. But things didn’t look as though they...

Looking Back on 2012: An Oral History of American Values

I was young like you once. Don’t laugh. It seems impossible, I know. An old codger like me of 77! You probably can’t picture when I was only 47 and healthy, with all my own teeth and a libido that didn’t yet require boner pills. Sure, that was three decades ago, and I look a...

On the Death of a Child

A daughter has died. She was also a wife and a mother and a sister. She was 41. She follows to the grave a brother, who died in a car accident when he was 18. What does one say to her parents? How flimsy and impotent words seem in the face of these outrages, when the natural...

Violence Voyeurism

Outrageous. Horrifying. Disgusting. These were some of the adjectives hurled in the press when news broke that the former world champions of football, the New Orleans Saints, for years had instituted a bounty system that rewarded their players for knocking opponents out of the game. Players contributed to an in-house pool and collected $1,000-$1,500 when...

Near Death on Two Wheels

Last week I experienced my first ride inside the back of an ambulance rushing to a hospital emergency room. The sirens wailed while paramedics monitored my vital signs and called out important-sounding numbers. I looked up from the gurney I was attached to, noting the oxygen valve on the ceiling, the lights, the latched compartments...