Saturday, December 1, 2012



File:Monte Carlo Casino.jpgAs best I can determine, the U.S. is essentially in denial about death—and hopes it will go away real soon now.

Well, that seems to be the public face anyway. As to what people really think in the wee small hours, when fear stalks the land, and strange things bite, slither and howl in the darkness—I can but deduce.

In truth, seniors take so many legal meds I wonder can they think rationally at all—given they are drugged up to the eyeballs—but that is not a thought I normally articulate. Still, in an age when we penalize people so heavily for drinking and driving, it strikes me that we should look at legal drugs in much the same way—and perhaps we should penalize people who vote while legally drugged—because thinking and drugs don’t mix too well either. All in all, it could explain a lot. Why else would anyone vote for…?  

I worried about death a bit in my fifties, but then became sanguine on the subject. It’s inevitable, so there is no point in getting depressed about it. That said, it is not unreasonable to be concerned about the manner of one’s dying. I’d prefer to die while writing, or on my way to a local bistro; but if that is not the way matters turn out, I guess I won’t be around to worry about it.

I am 68 as I write this—an age where death is decidedly not a remote prospect any more—so I tend to think of my remaining time in terms of books to be written. You probably think I’m joking when I say this, but it’s quiet true. I don’t have a bucket list. I have a list of writing projects. I’ve had an interesting life—quite as adventurous as I had always hoped—and now I would like to top it off with some (more) interesting books. Writing them is a lot of fun, and about as satisfying a way to pass my remaining years (I’m making an assumption here—it could be seconds) as I can imagine.

I’m writing about death—quite a cheerful subject if you approach it with the right attitude—because I have just run across the most extraordinary chart (which I now can’t find). But what really struck home was that residents of Monaco seem to live until they are nearly 90 years young, whereas Americans, who are listed way down the chart at number 51—a ranking that should be plain embarrassing for the richest country in the world—tend to check out not much past 78 years. And while we live, we tend to be sicker—which affects one’s quality of life.

Yes I know the Monegasques (in truth most are rich tax exiles) are wealthy and have the Mediterranean diet, but a difference of nearly twelve years seems to be carrying matters to excess. Tolstoy wrote War & Peace—the kind of book you do not want dropped on you from a height--in only ten.

My immediate suggestion is that we all move to Canada. We won’t all fit in Monaco; it’s a ridiculously small country. In contrast, Canadians have plenty of space, and live roughly two years longer than we do—and if we are all up there, we won’t need to build the highly controversial Keystone pipeline. An idle thought: Why do they live two years longer? 

Who will fund the move? Big Pharma, of course. After all, if we live longer we’ll be able to consume even more of their products.

Or could it be that all these legal meds are actually killing us?

If you want to comment on this, you’ll find me in Monaco. I am swimming there forthwith—virtually anything beats flying these days. I know the place well. We used to vacation there when I was a child; and later when I was a teen…

Beautiful location, scenery, buildings, weather, women, wine, and food. Why wouldn’t one live to a ripe old age under such circumstances!

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