Thursday, 28 June 2012

Considering the alternative

While 'dancing round the D word' 
Nora Ephron made the following observations:

Chances of dying.

When you cross into your sixties, your odds of dying -
or merely getting horribly sick on the way to dying - spike.
Death is a sniper. It strikes people you love,
people you like, people you know,
it's everywhere.
You could be next.
But then you turn out not to be.
But then again you could be.


Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over:
Do you splurge or do you hoard?
Do you live every day as if it's your last,
or do you save your money 
on the chance you'll live twenty more years?
Is life too short,
or is it going to be too long?
Do you work as hard as you can,
or do you slow down to smell the roses?
And where do carbohydrates fit into all this?
And what about chocolate?
There's a question for you, Gertrude Stein - 
(who as she lay dying was asked by
Alice B. Toklas, "What is the answer?")
  what about chocolate?

The final prognosis.

Before you get sick, you have absolutely no idea
of how you're going to feel once you do.
You can imagine you'll be brave,
but it's just as possible you'll be terrified.
You can hope that you'll find a way to accept death,
but you could just as easily end up raging against it.

The funeral.

I know what sort of food I would like served:
those little finger sandwiches 
from this place on Lexington Avenue called William Poll.
And champagne would be nice. I love champagne.
It's so festive.
But otherwise I don't have a clue.

Burial or cremation?

I haven't even figured out whether I want to be 
buried or cremated -largely because I've always worried
 that cremation in some way lowers your
chances of being reincarnated.
(If there is such a thing.) (Which I know there isn't.)
(And yet.)

Life goes on.

I need more bath oil.
And that reminds me to say something about bath oil.
I use this bath oil I happen to love.
It's called Dr. Hauschka's lemon bath.
It costs about twenty dollars, which
is enough for about two weeks of baths
if you follow the instructions.
The instructions say one capful per bath.
But a capful gets you nowhere. 
A capful is not enough. I have known this for a long time.
But if the events of the last few years have taught me anything,
it's that I'm going to feel an idiot if I die tomorrow
and I skimped on bath oil today.
So I use quite a lot of bath oil.
More than you could ever imagine.
After I take a bath,
my bathtub is as dangerous as an oil slick.
But thanks to the bath oil, I'm as smooth as silk.
I am going out to buy more, right now.

* I Feel Bad About My Neck 
Nora Ephron 1941 -2012


  1. food for thought - while you're in the bath presumably!

  2. When your times up - your times up - no matter how rich - how thin - how famous. Nora got it absolutely right.

  3. Good questions, I too worry about the chocolate and whether I should live my life as if I were going to live forever.
    Someone, God know who, once said that living well is the best revenge and I try to take that into account as I go on.
    I don't want to live each day as if it were my last but I do want to enjoy each day in my own quiet way.

  4. How about your answers to those questions, Lucille; I would be most interested in those. It would be a guide to the rest of us who are sitting here fretfully wondering whether or not to splurge.

  5. I'm about to have a bath but I am lacking Dr Hauschka's bath oil, which may be just as well: oil slick could be the end of me.

    A lovely post, Lucille. Made me laugh and think and feel wistful.

  6. Well of course Belinda I should have credited you with introducing me to her writing. So I'm doing it now.

  7. Mise, can I come back to you? Actually I probably will as reincarnation has a big tick from me. And no she didn't need to worry what to do with her mortal remains.
    Meanwhile I am splurging on the lemon bath product.

  8. So wise and funny. I don't think you have to pass sixty to start thinking "I really should be doing this the way I want" but realising that the clock is ticking does hone the intentions nicely.

  9. Well, this post is full of grace, and is useful and beautiful.

    Let us all try to find joy each day, even if circumstances might try to direct us elsewhere.


  10. I don't remember that I did! (Introduce you to her writing.) I'm delighted if I had that amount of good sense and taste.

  11. I think Nora knew very well how to live, and how to write about it. God bless her. I have the same approach to bath oil.

  12. Good grief, I have never given any of that a second's thought, perhaps I should start now? Nah, I shall continue to do what I want, when I want and enjoy myself. Though I shall certainly not be getting in a bath other than to have a swift shower!

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