“If I knew the way, I would take you home.”
— the prophet robert hunter
In his cheery tome, “Being Mortal,” Atul Gawande looks at dying of old age. He outlines the following three scenarios.
Option 1: All’s well, and then you die without much of a buildup, like sitting in the dark suddenly when the electricity goes out. Which makes me wonder if I paid the electric bill this month.
Option 2: You go through a series of ailments, recovering but losing a step, then another ailment and another decline, gradually snowballing into your eventual demise. I think death from snowball would be an excellent obituary.
Option 3: You succumb to the old runner’s axiom, “start slow and then fizzle out altogether.” No drama or major health issues, just crappy health that gets crappier and crappier till you finally give up. Sorta like watching this year’s Saturday Night Live opening skits.
So what’s the answer? How would you prefer to go? I’m still a “Harold and Maude” guy, drawn to the idea of being in control of the end. Walk off the stage while the audience is still calling for more. But Mo never really warmed up to Bud Cort, so I’m not sure what the answer is. Grateful Dead, indeed.
There’s only one thing I know for sure: All three of these drawings look like they would make fun marathon courses.
That’s likely the answer. Death By Marathon. Is there a Dia de Los Muertos Marathon somewhere? Cue the Cat Stevens soundtrack …