Friday, October 18, 2013

Mortality

A couple of years ago, I did not understood why my libertarian and objectivist comrades were effervescent about Christopher Hitchens.  For a while, Michael Stuart Kelly allocated space to the “Christopher Hitchens Watch” on his Objectivist Living discussion board. I have another friend, a conservative in the basic meaning of that word in American politics - not a libertarian and certainly not an Objectivist. She told me that when Hitchens died, she felt that the universe had cheated her.

I finally viewed a YouTube video of Hitchens debating D’nesh Desouza.  As much as I instantly liked Hitchens, I had to give the debate to Desouza. I was impressed with the fact that the more he drank, the more compelling grew Hitchens’s elocution.

In 93 pages, I learned three new words: inanition, imbricated, and lambent. 

The last flight he took before he received the diagnosis included his millionth mile with United Airlines, earning him free upgrades for life.  He soon realized that his American Express card had an expiration date farther out than his own. Hitchens invested increasingly rare ink reflecting on religion, specifically the various expressions of it by others: some prayed for him; others blogged that he was getting what he deserved.  In all, he suffered 19 months of chemo-therapy and radiation, to die at an age 13 years younger than his father who was taken quickly by the same cancer. Hitchens convinced me that when the time comes, I am better off to eschew the treatments and bring the curtain down without an encore.

“You are tapped on the shoulder and told ‘The party’s over.’  Worse, what you are told is that the party is going on but that you have to leave.” -- Live presentation not in this book.

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