“Dead Men Tell No Tales”

As I’ve written before, I’m a big fan of reading the obituaries in The Times.   And now that the Mets are officially out of the pennant race, they’ve become even more of a mainstay of my morning reading.  Kind of like viewing a different kind of box score.  There are  two types of obits that really get my attention–those for the really old (particularly if they have a Jewish sounding name) and those who were around my age when they died.   

One thing that I’ve noticed is, that approximately 90% of people who die after the age of 87 were born in Brooklyn.  And of those, about 92% were born to parents who had immigrated from Russia (sometimes, Poland) and ran a candy store.  I know…it sounds amazing, but it’s true.

My interest in the other group is probably self-evident.  I’m forever trying to see if my contemporaries  had been suffering from some ailments similar to mine just prior to their demise. Were they a little stiff in the morning?  Going to the bathroom a little more frequently.  Maybe not getting around the court quite as fast as they used to…things like that.  So far, I haven’t come across any mention of those kinds of maladies. Usually, they’ve had some awful disease or some accident.  Bad for them….a relief for me.

And then occasionally, there’s that obituary that falls into neither category but still gets my attention.  For example, last week, Gus Bevona died.  He had been the head of a branch of the Service Employees International Union.   Although Mr. Bevona’s death was confirmed by the union, no other information was available.  As stated in his obituary, “Union representatives said they had no information about the cause of the death or where he died, and family members could not be reached.  Mr. Bevona himself was known to be reluctant to provide personal details.”   You’d think…just this one time, he’d be more forthcoming.

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As you also may know, I’ve lost quite a few friends in discussing the “me “vs. “I” thing.  (See: https://ironicman.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/im-and-i-approve-this-message/).  But, there may be some vindication. It seems  that no less an authority than a cartoonist for the New Yorker has jumped on the band wagon. 

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