Saturday, February 8, 2014

                                  THE OTHER SIDE OF OXYGEN

An 86-year-old woman recently died one day after completing the New York Marathon. She said she wanted to die running. This begs the question of my pea brain:  If I could choose what I’d be doing and where when I checked out, what and where would it be? Hmm. Writing? Playing the piano? Enjoying whoopee with Mr. Wonderful? Climbing the Calanques in France? Standing in front of 500 people giving my first and only keynote speech on The Joy of the Brown Bean Casserole? Think about this for a minute. Where would you want to be? Who would be there? 

I am not one who thinks about life on the other side of oxygen. I prefer to stay in the moment. It has taken me 83 self-help books, several well-meaning shrinks, two Jane Fonda Yoga tapes and a brush or two with death to learn that NOW is better than any alternative. After all, NOW is all we’ve got and the only time we have to control. I like control. Yes, indeed, control is good. 

When we consider where certain famous people were when they checked out, one can’t help but recall people like Elvis who died on the throne, Arthur Aston who was beaten to death with his own wooden leg in 1649, Pyrrhus of Epicus, who was killed by an old lady who threw a tile at him in 272 B.C. or Julien de la Mettrie, the French doctor who ate himself to death in 1757. It’s not that we can actually pick out a place and reserve it for the last exhale. As “the end” is so random, there is no way to prevent embarrassing venues. I suppose we could just hurry through any events at compromising places like bathrooms, lovers’ beds or Swiss banks, but that’s not realistic. Maybe we need to sport a tatoo that says something like “When close, Fed Ex to Maui,” or “If imminent, drop off at Joe’s bar.” This topic is certainly perplexing.