Friday, October 14, 2011


The Seventh Seal, by Ingmar Bergman

Dear George,

I’ve been working on this blog for over two years, and this is my 249th post. Sometimes I get nervous that I will run out of topics. Just about the only things left are Sex and Death. I’ve scheduled Sex for my 500th post, so, as disturbing as it is, Death will have to be it for today. The Internet, of course, helps a lot. In this case, I Googled my “life expectancy.” That was a revelation. It turns out that I have exactly 10.81 years remaining in my life. These actuarial tables are based on millions and millions of cases. So, while they may be off by a day or two, it looks pretty certain (e.g., within a 99% probability) that I will die on June 22, 2022. That’s not so bad. It’s not as good as, say, 38.4 years, but it’s definitely better than 1.71 or 3.59. It means I have about the same amount of time left as from my birth till close to my eleventh birthday. A lot of exciting things happened to me from birth to age eleven. Of course, this time I will be progressing in the opposite direction, but it still promises to be interesting.

Many famous people have died on June 22nd. In my view, the most noteworthy are: George Carlin, Dody Goodman, Ann Landers, Jessica Mitford, Pat Nixon, Moose (the dog actor on Frasier), Fred Astaire, Dennis Day (from the Jack Benny Show), Judy Garland, David O. Selznick, and Niccolo Machiavelli. Assuming that I will join all these people in Heaven, this is like a perfect peer group. We have many connections -- writing (Mitford), humor (Carlin, Goodman), dogs (Moose), ballroom dancing (Astaire), movies (Selznick, Garland), nostalgia (Dennis Day), and professional interests in social behavior (Ann Landers), and social theory (Machiavelli). In fact, if I were to pick a perfect Heavenly cohort in terms of shared interests, I would probably come up with exactly this group. The only one who doesn’t obviously fit is Pat Nixon. Even with Pat, though, her husband is the figure that I hate most in all of human history, so I would have a certain emotional bond with her.

10.81 years is about 13% of my total life span. To put that into perspective, if my entire life were to be compressed into twelve months, today would be Nov. 16. So, metaphorically speaking, I have quite a bit of Autumn and Winter left. There’s Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a lot of time to be in the forest with the sheepdogs, who love the cool weather; good photographs to be taken with the season’s first snowfall; and watching a lot of Bengals and Packers games on TV. Or, on the other hand, if my whole life were condensed into a 24-hour day, right now it would be about 8:56 p.m. Most of the day’s noxious tasks would be completed, it’s time to take the dogs out, the more adult shows are cropping up on TV, and I’d wind up the day by taking an Ambien and enjoying Stephen Colbert. I watch the Colbert Report at the end of every day anyway, then conk out, so that works out perfectly.

So, those are my Death thoughts for today. I’m excited that I looked up the life expectancy tables. It helps to know exactly what’s going to happen. Next I am going to plot out the details of my life plan for 10.81 years. I will probably do it in 108 tenths of a year. First I will schedule camping trips. Then line dancing plans. Possibly sheepdog grooming appointments. What else I’ll include is yet to be determined. I’m open to suggestions.



G-mail Comments

-Gayle C-L (10-17): David....Sorry for the delay.... somehow I missed this e mail,, Matter of fact you cannot stop blogging because I look so forward to reading them.. I was going to e mail you a hello and to see what is going on... So... This is an interesting subject... You are really something else.. Ok.. glad to see that you are still kicking and you will be kicking for a long time.. :) keep in touch... Lots of love :)) G

-JML (10-17): Great blog dad. I like your quantifying approach. For myself i just think of the tall rollercoaster metaphor, going up up up until age 40 or so and then quickly going down down down.

-Vicki L 10-15): Hi David, 10.81 was hilarious and, as always, somehow profound (how can hilarity and

profundity co-exist?)….it's one of many examples of why I'm so fond of you. Love, Sis

1 comment:

  1. At least one Twin Cities (Menominee & Marinette, not Minneapolis & St Paul) visit should be in your plans. Maybe we could make it at the same time