On the inconvenience and certainty of death.




As my doctor walks in he takes a looks at me and then at his chart and at me again, he remarks that I look quite young for may age.  Then “can he guarantee me another five years as I’ve a 5-year plan?”   

“Why don’t you aim for ten, he asks amusingly?”  “Can you certify that you’ll be here,” I ask?  Then he turns philosophical and says, “nothing is certain.”

“Except the certainty of death,” I reply.  But not certain as to its time and date,” he says smartly.  But insurance companies know and funeral directors are prepared.  There’s money in death as there is in taxes.

Later, I verify a saying about death and taxes.  It is believed it was first said in “The Works of Benjamin Franklin,” “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."*

In a line from Margaret Mitchell's book Gone With the Wind, 1936: she says,  "death, taxes and childbirth!  There's never any convenient time for any of them.”*   *(Google the Phrase Finder).

And this is the main problem, not its certainty but determination of a convenient time for death.  It ‘s not like a doctor’s appointment.  And between the firmness of death’s certainty and the date of the eventual event come numerous events and tasks in death’s preparation, all uncertain. 

This is the sort of talk that those in their eighties and nineties participate in.  These are the thoughts that they must come to grips with, the hard certainty of death, the system breakdowns, against its nearness, its impact and all the loose ends, decisions and costs, all unknowns in view of a nearing certainty.

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