Sunday, September 17, 2006

Knocking on Heaven's Door

All publicity is good, except an obituary notice.
Brendan Behan (1923–64), playwright


October is my favorite month even though it’s going to make me another year older and that much closer to death. And, speaking of death, what a coincidence, I enjoy reading the obituary pages in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. When I read about someone’s life and what major event he or she participated in or what they invented or endured, I am amazed. I also wonder about all the knowledge and wisdom we lose everyday.

I am hopeful death will allow me to go quietly and gently into that good night, and unless I go in some spectacular fashion or Toner Mishap gets well known, I don’t see an obit in my future unless it’s paid for by Daughter.

The reason I bring all this up is the book “The Dead Beat” by Marilyn Johnson is rather interesting. She notes that it’s more than coincidence, actually she believes it supernatural that people are leaving this world in occupational clusters. She lists several examples such as the obituaries of Paul Winchell, the voice of Tigger in "Pooh," and John Fiedler, the voice of Piglet in "Pooh," both left this world a day apart. She also points out two scientists, one who isolated vitamin C, and one who isolated vitamin K, died around the same time. And, of course, there are the famous deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents of the United States who died on July 4, exactly 50 years after they signed the Declaration of Independence.

While this may be a stretch, I do think it’s worth noting that Oriana Fallaci the hard-hitting journalist known for her war coverage and for aggressive, revealing interviews with the powerful, and Ann Richards, the former Governor of Texas, also a champion of feminism, whose comment truly hits home for many women: “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels,” died just days apart.

Coincidence or supernatural -- you be the judge.

Update: In today’s Los Angeles Times is the obit on Estelle Ramey. The headline reads, Estelle Ramey, 89; Doctor, Sharp-Tongued Feminist. Just add Ramey to the list with Richards and Fallaci. What I am beginning to conclude is that it’s best to have an occupation or cause that no one else has so you can go out on your own terms and timeframe.

1 comment:

dusty said...

well, its certainly an interesting way to look at it I guess..I just know Ann Richards hit me very hard. I worshipped that woman.