In that spirit, I would request similar treatment for the soul of a long-time teaching colleague of my wife who passed away last week. Some months ago she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which metastasized to some place else, her liver I think. A couple of weeks ago we found out that hospice had been called in to tend to her needs. Her husband wanted no visitors (his wife's wish as well, I presume), which was hard for my wife, who was quite fond of this lady, a fellow Catholic and an observant one at that. (The husband is an avid golfer and has shown up at Q-school the past two years to watch Bernadette. I try not to imagine what shape his ready smile must be in at this moment.) A card was passed around at school for all to sign. (One signatory wrote, "Be upbeat!"). Mary Helyn wrote, "May the Blessed Mother and all the angels and saints be with you and comfort you on your journey to Jesus. I miss you."
Anyway, it gets one's attention when people not much different from you in age take the last train out. And it took her fast.
Reminds me of a couple of colleagues of mine who retired recently, English teachers both. They were of about my age, perhaps slightly older, but had been at it considerably longer - about 30 years. They retired within a year of each other, and within a year of their respective retirement dates, both were dead. I'm never retiring.
* * *I'm getting a bit sick of these cialis and viagara ads on TV in which the main beneficiaries of these drugs' effects seem to be people on the outer cusp of middle age. A lot of them are 60 if a day, and one couple looked like they ought to live within walking distance of a nursing home. These drugs are intended to treat something called erectile dysfunction, and if you really want to have babies, or are at an age when the erotic side of the romantic impulse still clouds your better judgement (in other words, young), and something ain't working right, then by all means have at it. But that's not what's going on with these people. I'm highly sceptical of the proposition that our society is surfeited with millions of post-menopausal women who've just gotta have it. "Dear, you've been quite unattentive lately. In the bedroom, I mean. I don't believe we've had sex for the last 10 years, since, oh, we were in our fifties. Why don't you try one of those drugs that give you a 4 hour erection?" Yessir, you can hear that conversation going on in the living rooms of the retired all over America. No, I think it's a man thing. I think these ads are aimed at a bunch of fulsome old farts who can't grow old gracefully, and whose marriages are corrupted, because they watch and read too much of the lust-laden modern media. Not to mention that they're men, which means that if they can find a way to prolong some sexual semblance of youth just one more time, they'll take it. I'm doubtful that a man in this age bracket who avails himself of these drugs has any intention of using them at home. For he still needs lust in his life, while the woman in his life - long past her child-bearing years - makes a poor object for it. Her 'usefulness' in these areas is over. My guess is she doesn't need his lust anymore. She needs to know that she is still useful, but sex isn't the thing to drive that message home. She needs something better, something old made new again.
I could be wrong about the libidinous propensities of the modern middle-aged woman, and she is free to set me straight. Perhaps we could arrange to meet and discuss it privately...
* * *I caught a bit of that TV show called "Lost" the other night, and if I'm not mistaken, that girl they call Freckles (I can't remember her real name), and that guy they call Sawyer (which might not be his real name) did the nasty thing in a cage. With bars and all. It was one of those moments when the erotic side of the romantic impulse clouded their better judgement, but they're young and Sawyer doesn't need Viagara yet. I think that group of people they call the Others have a spy camera in the cage, but I'm not sure Freckles and Sawyer were aware of it. If they were, well, we're suddenly into different territory , aren't we? Anyway, it was kind of a letdown because I was hoping old Freckles, who is just adorable, would turn out to be a woman of invincible virtue, but it doesn't do to hope for much anymore. At least she and the Sawyer guy were strongly attracted to each other, which is almost like being married anyway. They haven't discussed the subject much, but I'm thinking that, because of the plane crash and everything, Freckles doesn't have a reliable source of birth control. So I'm hoping she turns up pregnant just to thicken the plot. Also, some guy named Echo, or Ecco, or Eko, got killed by a computer-generated black storm cloud that growls like a jungle beast. I didn't quite understand that part because I've had a black cloud following me around for years and it hasn't killed me yet. It probably will eventually, though.
* * *I've been trying to imagine what at least the next two years will look like with that shrewish demagogue Nancy Pelosi as Speakstress of the House. Considering the office, she'll probably have to cut back on the demagoguery a bit so as to appear more responsible. In other words to hide her real self. Actually, her real self is supposed to be Catholic, but that's her purely private self which is never let out in public, so as to avoid giving offense. Anyway, we're not likely to see any more Sam Alitos or John Robertses on the Supreme Court for some time to come. It might offer some comfort to know that the fellow in the picture below is keeping watch as night descends over America.