••• The International Writers Magazine: Observations 2018 - Life and Death
Observations on the Year Past and Some Other Things
The year 2018 is now almost past and it’s tempting to just forget it, but tradition decrees that you look back and say something about it so here goes.
For one thing, in the age of Trump and tweets, facebook and whatever else is out there, we had no shortage of news, with one event coming after another. Just off the top of my head there was the constant battle between our two so-called political parties, notably the Judge Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court, the interminable midterm elections and of course the endless Mueller investigation; will Trump be impeached or not?. There was also North Korea; they’re going to scrap all of their nukes, or are they? And Brexit; is England in or out? And riots in Paris; those unruly French. Is Macron in or out? And what about Syria? What’s going on there anyway? Whatever, if it’s Syria it can’t be good. Then there’s the Wall, ICE and the caravan, maybe caravans. Natural disasters of course abounded, most pertinent for us the wildfires in California, especially the one that destroyed the town of Paradise and created unhealthy air conditions for our area and beyond for weeks.
The one good thing about this 24/7 onslaught of news events is that you forget the one that seems so important today as the next big item comes along tomorrow. One notable recent event that hasn’t been forgotten as of this date (but will probably have been forgotten by the time this appears) is the passing of our 41st president, George H.W. Bush. It’s interesting how much better his presidency has become with his passing. As I recall, he was labeled a wimp, called a lapdog and endlessly lampooned on Saturday Night Live. Now he’s become a war hero, his resume is outstanding and he might even have been a great or at least a pretty good president. One thing there’s no question about is that he was modest, unassuming, cared about others and was a devoted family man and patriot. Maybe some of these virtues will rub off on today’s motley crew of politicians. Yes, this is being incredibly optimistic.
It’s also always interesting at the end of any year to note the prominent persons, like President Bush, who’ve passed away during that time. I’m usually surprised at how many of deaths I missed. I do remember a few, the first person coming to mind another war hero, Senator John McCain. Another one is the author Philip Roth, who I mentioned in one of my “Observations” as saying how pleasantly surprised he was to have lived another day, a sentiment that I’m sure resonates with us Sun City oldsters. Unfortunately, as must happen to us all, there came a day that he didn’t. Then there’s someone else I mentioned here, Charles Krauthammer, the writer and tv personage, whose life and death were so exemplary. Finally, Dwight Clark, who made The Catch which launched the San Francisco 49ers dynasty, who had ASL at an early age and who also exited with class.
But I did some research, i.e., I Googled, and found out quite a few deaths that I’d missed. There was Stephen Hawking, perhaps the world’s best-known scientist. I hadn’t known or had forgotten it. I also hadn’t known that another author, the flamboyant Tom Wolfe, had died. Roger Bannister, the first 4-minute miler, is gone. How’d I miss that? Also gone in the entertainment field are Steven Bocho, who created the ground-breaking TV show, “Hill Street Blues,” David Ogden Stiers of another ground-breaking TV show, “Mash,”; Harry Anderson, the judge of “Night Court,”; and John Mahoney of “Frasier,”; in the sports field, Red Schoendeist of the Saint Louis Cards, Hal Greer of the Philadelphia Sixers and Rusty Staub of the Mets. A little shock to come upon each of these names.
Well, enough of deaths. I can’t end the year without some observations on a subject I often touch upon here, that of aging (yes, there is, I’m afraid, some association between aging and death). I recently came across an article in the Wall Street Journal headlined: “A Retiree Discovers the Joy of Being a Sports Fan.” Being a life-long sports fan and a retiree I was of course interested. The article was by a lady named Robbie Shell and said, among other things, that she’s become “part of a diverse community of people who share a passion” (for sports), that being a sports fan has given her a greater appreciation of things she valued when she worked full time, such as teamwork, grace under pressure and humility and that she liked the “the discrete unambiguous ending” of sports when “resolution on many different fronts---politics, culture, the economy, the environment---is so uncertain. There is closure in sports.” I agree. After reading the front page of a newspaper (see above) it’s a relief to turn to the sports section and after watching TV newscasts all week it’s a relief to watch the football games on the weekend.
Finally, still more or less on the subject of aging, when this appears I will have had another birthday (on December 30th) and so am now 89 years old, pretty close to 90; and to think that I’d once thought that 90 was old. Once again I did some research ( Google again) and found out a surprising number of notables who are still around at 90 or over. There’s Bob Dole, 94, and Jimmy Carter, 92, recently seen at President Bush’s funeral; Henry Kissinger, 93; Bobby Doerr, Red Schoendeist’s contemporary, 98; writer Russell Baker, 91; Angela Langsbury, 91; and Doris Day, 94. So there is life after 90. I’m glad to know this. And life will go on despite the current turbulence in our nation’s politics and society. I know this because I’ve lived through the Great Depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, reality TV, rock music, Facebook and so on. And there’s always the next game to watch,
© Martin Green December 15th 2018
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