Category: Mortality

Young at Heart

Back when they used to write songs the way they no longer do today, the composer Johnny Richards penned these words: “Fairy tales can come true/ It can happen to you/ If you’re young at heart” and the penultimate stanza, “If you should survive/To a hundred-and-five/Think of all you’ve derived/ Out of being alive.” In...

Accepting Suicide

To we the living — those of us who rejoice and suffer, work and play, ruminate and act, love and hate, laugh and cry — willfully bringing about a premature end to this absurdly wonderful experience of being alive seems unfathomable. Anyone who would commit suicide, whether because of despair, political conviction, or religious brainwashing,...

Would You Be Jesus?

During war time, countless young men and women sacrifice their lives so that others┬ámay inhabit a “better” and safer world. At least that’s the idea. When the people who run our government lie and steal and generally desecrate the principles upon which our country is built, warriors and their families must feel persistently nauseous knowing...

The Elderly

The surrealist artist and poet Dorothea Tanning is 96 years-old. The gentleman who organizes our local golf club tournaments is 82. Countless people in their seventies (do the Rolling Stones qualify?) lead full and active lives. My father is in his sixties. At this point in his life, numerical age is irrelevant. After surviving two...

Foretelling the Future

Knowing in advance, whether through precognition, special access, or heightened powers of analysis can be both profitable and impressive. If we could predict with certainty the winner of this weekend’s Masters tournament, the biggest gainer on today’s New York Stock Exchange, or the six numbers in the Powerball lottery, we would reap a handsome profit....

If Trees Could Live Forever

I think that I shall never see A poem as lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks to God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her...

The Dust of a Comet

The other night in Los Angeles, it was possible to see faintly the Leonid meteor showers with the naked eye. A bright gibbous moon made the show less spectacular than it will be tonight, on the 19th, when the moon will be on the wane. The light we saw shooting across the sky was thrilling...