I don't expect to be reincarnated,
so I'll blog about dying and death (with appropriate irreverence) while I'm still alive.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Seeing Hearing Speaking
Communicating Distracting
Lusting Living

At lunch today, my order was taken by an attractive young lady with deep cleavage (that's a euphemism for large breasts).

She had to repeat her questions about my meal several times before I answered properly.

I'm not sure if she was speaking very softly, or if I don't hear well.

OTOH, it's highly likely that I was concentrating on her chest -- not her words.

I'm not dead yet.

(photo  by shira gal from Kfar Saba, Israel, via Wikipedia)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Will work keep you alive?

"Arbeit macht frei" is a German phrase that can be translated as "work will make you free."  The phrase was posted at the entrances to several Nazi concentration camps, most notably Auschwitz.

Most of the slave workers who avoided the ovens, gas chambers and deprivation were freed by the Allied armies -- not by the work they were forced to do for Hitler.

However, some of the workers who had special skills -- ranging from singing to missile-making and forgery -- were kept alive by their important work, and ultimately freed when the Nazis surrendered.

Even outside concentration camps, work can keep people alive. And, perhaps the lack of work hastens death.

I’m scheduled to become 65 next spring and thought I’d be retiring — not running a new book publishing  business.

OTOH my father’s father sold his shirt-making business to another company when he was 80. He was forced to retire at age 85, and within a few months he was in a nursing home, and then dead.

He told us he had no reason to get up in the morning.

Last year my father announced that there was nothing left on his to-do list, and he was ready to die, and he did (at 86).

It’s important to have a reason to get out of bed — and I think writing and publishing are great reasons. I get out of bed to start my workday at 3:30 a.m. — but that’s probably not right for normal people.

Arbeit macht mich lebendig  (work makes me alive).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ways to go

Here's a list of the 15 most common causes of death in the United States, provided by CDC/NHS, National Vital Statistics System. Pick a good one.

Percent of Total
1. Diseases of the heart 28.5
2. Malignant tumors22.8
3. Cerebrovascular diseases6.7
4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases5.1
5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)4.4
6. Diabetes mellitus3.0
7. Influenza and pneumonia2.7
8. Alzheimer's disease2.4
9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis 1.7
10. Septicemia (blood poisoning) 1.4
11. Suicide1.3
12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis1.1
13. Primary hypertension and hypertensive renal disease 0.8
14. Parkinson's disease (tied)0.7
15. Homicide (tied) 0.7

And for the entire world (from the World Health Organization):

1. Ischemic heart disease 12.6
2. Cerebrovascular diseases9.7
3. Lower respiratory infections (e.g., pneumonia)6.8
4. HIV/AIDS 4.9
5. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease4.8
6. Diarrheal diseases 3.2
7. Tuberculosis 2.7
8. Malaria (tied) 2.2
9. Cancer of trachea/bronchus/lung (tied) 2.2
10. Road traffic accidents 2.1
11. Childhood diseases 2.0
12. other unintentional injuries (tied) 1.6
13. Hypertensive heart disease (tied)1.6
14. Suicide (tied)1.5
15. Stomach cancer (tied)

(burger photo from

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can there be a funny book about widowhood? Sure.

A female reviewer said that Barbara Barth's The Unfaithful Widow: Fragmented Memoirs Of My First Year Alone "is a book for anyone who has a void to fill in her life."

That's much too limiting.

No void is necessary, and the book is not just for females. It's a book for anyone seeking entertainment and anyone who might benefit from inspiration to keep going. It's also for everyone who likes dogs and soft-core dirty talk.

Barbara Barth is a master (mistress?) storyteller, with an uncanny ability to recall or recreate dialog. She is able to pluck humor from sadness. She shows proper respect for the past without being a prisoner of the past. Barbara demonstrates impressive resilience, strength and the ability to keep looking ahead despite widowhood, bad dates, and the death of a dog. Her unwillingness to accept cliche roles dictated by age, custom or gender are important lessons for everyone.

I don't want to concentrate only on the inspirational aspects of the book, because it is a LOT OF FUN.

I read the Kindle version on a bumpy train ride. I was tired and woozy. A lesser book would have made me turn off my iPad. With Barbara's book, I kept tapping to turn the electronic pages to see what happens next. The woman sitting next to me wondered what was making me laugh and she started reading along with me. I read faster than she did, and let her catch up before I turned the pages.

Although I didn't "get" the cover illustration (it's apparently a chick thing) and at times I thought I was overhearing a conversation that was meant just for women (number of bras owned, evaluating a man's butt), at other times I thought Barbara was talking directly to me.

Buy the book and hear what Barbara has to say to you. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

His dying words

The wife and I were sitting at the breakfast table one Sunday morning.

I said to her, “When I die, I want you to immediately sell all of my stuff.”

“Now why would you want me to do that?” she asked.

“I figure that you would eventually remarry and I don’t want some asshole using my stuff.”

She looked at me and said, “What makes you think I’d marry another asshole?”

(Thank you, Harry.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You know you're old when...

Here are some benchmarks of aging:

At age 5, you love playing on the floor. At age 50 you hate getting down on the floor because it's hard to get up.

At age 6, a nap is a punishment. At age 40, a nap is a mini-vacation.

At age 8, you need help with complicated things. At age 18, you provide help to others. At age 58, you need help again.

At age 10, you're insulted if a waitress calls you "honey." At age 30 it feels nice. At age 50 you call the waitress "honey."

At age 16, you hate needing a parent to drive you in the car. At age 60, it's nice to have a driver.

Around age 20 in rural areas or 22 in more developed areas, you first notice cops who are younger than you are.

By age 24 you notice teachers and bus drivers who are younger than you are.

By age 30 you notice doctors and clergypeople who are younger than you are.

By age 32 you notice elected officials who are younger than you are.

By age 35, store clerks and restaurant servers start calling you "sir" or "ma'am."

By age 40 you notice college presidents who are younger than you are.

By age 45 you realize that some people whom you always thought were older than you, are really younger.

By age 47 you start getting asked if you have a senior citizens discount card.

By age 50 there are heads of nations who are younger than you are.

By age 52 you talk more about the things you've done than about the things you want to do.

By age 55 you realize that that "new" restaurant has been around for 50 years.

By age 57 you start watching TV commercials you never cared about before.

By age 58, you realize that some of your contemporaries have retired--or died.

By age 59, some old friends don't recognize you--or you don't recognize them.

By age 60 you look forward to hitting 65 and collecting Social Security.

By age 61 you realize that you are not immortal.

By age 62 you stop making long-term investments for retirement.

By age 63 you attend more funerals than weddings.

By age 64 you start giving away more than you buy.

By age 66 you decide that wearing a hearing aid wouldn't be so terrible.

By age 75 you stop buying green bananas or any other fruit that needs time to ripen before eating.

By age 80 you don't give a shit what anyone thinks about you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

This week is weird

Adapted from Wikipedia: In Jewish tradition, The Book of Life is opened on Rosh Hashanah (which started on the evening of September 8), when God begins an annual evaluation of everyone.

Those who will be allowed to live stay in the Book of Life. Others are deleted.

The ten days that start with Rosh Hashanah are known as the Days of Awe, and the Days of Repentance. This is a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur (which ends at sundown on September 18). It can't hurt for non-Jews to try it, too. You can also repent in February or August, or on every day. Off-season repentance may not buy you another year, but maybe it will help.

God is said to have two "books"-- a book of life and a book of death, and records who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year.

It is said that these books are written in on Rosh Hashanah, but our actions during the Days of Awe can alter God's decree. The actions that change the decision are repentance, prayer and good deeds (usually charity). These "books" are sealed on Yom Kippur.

A common greeting at this time of year is L'shanah tovah ("for a good year"). This is a shortening of "L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem" (or to women, "L'shanah tovah tikatevi v'taihatemi"), which means "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

So why is this week weird for me?

Today I'm supposed to get the results of a prostate biopsy and will find out if I have cancer. Later this week I go to the hospital to get my kidney stones zapped, and the next day I see a cardiologist about my extra heartbeat. Life was much simpler when our ancestors got eaten by dinosaurs when they were teenagers.

I hope both the docs and God write good reports--for all of you, and me.

UPDATE (Friday 9/17): Some good news. I don't have prostate cancer and the kidney stone lithotripsy treatment went "very well." I'll be peeing blood for a while and have to pee into a screened funnel to catch crunchy stuff (pulverized kidney stones) for the lab to analyze. I have a prescription for Vicodin ( just like Dr. Gregory House) for when it hurts to pee out the crunchies. Blood and crunchies are much better than cancer.

(Photo from

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How come nobody's protesting?

Since 9/11/2001, there have been about 360,000 automotive fatalities in the USA. That's the equivalent of more than one 9/11 massacre each month.               

About 40,000 Americans die because of automotive accidents each year--an average of 114 per day! Only a tiny percentage of the killer-drivers are Arabs or Muslims.

  • Motor vehicles accidents account for more deaths than all natural disasters combined. In fact in the United States your chances of being injured in an motor vehicle accident is better than one in a thousand, in any one year.
  • If you are a male, than you are twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than if you are a female. Yet, if you are a female you are slightly more likely to be injured.
  • The ages of 16 and 24 are the most dangerous for both sexes.
  • Between the ages of 16 and 64 alcohol figures into over 20% of all fatal accidents, and between the ages of 21 and 44 almost 50% of all fatalities.
  • Between the ages of 16 and 44 the fatality rate has declined since 1975. The most significant decline being in the 16 - 20 age group.
  • About half of all property damage accidents result in injuries or fatalities.
  • Since 1966 the rate of fatalities by population has fallen around 40%, by numbers of drivers over 50%, and by numbers of miles driven by almost 70%. We are driving a lot more miles and driving is still safer.
  • As we are get older we are more likely to die as a pedestrian, but we are more likely to be injured the younger we are.
  • Approximately 15% of people who die because of motor vehicle accidents are pedestrians, bicyclists or other wise not in motor vehicles.
  • Over two thirds of people who die in vehicles are not properly wearing safety restraints.
  • Your risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident is almost five times more likely in Mississippi than in Massachusetts.
  • You are ten times more likely to die driving a motorcycle than if you are driving any other motor vehicle.
(photo from

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Un-Bucket List.
I'd rather be pushing up daisies than pulling up weeds.

The Bucket List is a terrific 2008 movie in which Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson play two old guys who leave a hospital's cancer ward to accomplish the things on their "bucket list." That's the list of things they want to do before "kicking the bucket," and includes race car driving, skydiving, climbing the Pyramids and a lion safari.

I don't have a bucket list. There's not much that I want to do that I have not yet done in 64 years--other than see a few countries, bungee jump from the George Washington  Bridge, know that one person who really pissed me off endures an extremely painful death, and maybe travel back to one amazing weekend in 1967. Oh, and it might be nice to re-grow the hairs that used to be on my head, arms and legs, and to be able to buy "Indian nuts." And to go though 24 hours without some body part aching.

This morning, in my miserable role as suburban husband and homeowner, I was once again reminded of all of the things that I ABSOLUTELY HATE to deal with, and presumably will not have to deal with after I croak.

So, here's the beginning of my UN-BUCKET LIST:

Pulling up weeds
Vacuuming algae from the pool
Cleaning a fish tank
Unclogging ice cubes stuck together in the freezer
Writing checks
Mailing anything
Packing to move
Picking up plastic peanuts
Mopping up
Hanging tools back up on the Pegboard
Searching for keys and eyeglasses
Trying to convince my Golden Retriever to drop a shirt or shoe
Making small talk, especially in a hospital
Being pressured to taste something I know I'll hate
Listening to Christmas music in stores
Listening to political commercials
Clearing a clogged toilet with someone else's shit in it
Airplane "food"
Sloppy "professional" painters
Restaurants with off-brand crappy soda
Bad bagels
Requests for my opinion when I don't give a shit
People who ask me what to do and then do something else
Returning things to Sam's Club without a receipt (Costco is MUCH better)
Returning empty bottles to get the deposits back
Taking bags of stuff to Goodwill
Taking crap to the municipal transfer station (i.e., the dump)
Sorting out papers for Income Tax
Sorting out mixed screws, nails and other small hardware
Picking up the wrong screwdriver
Buying a tool to replace a lost tool and then finding the lost tool
The Tea Party, The Palins, Joe the alleged plumber
Levi whatzizname, the almost Palin son-in-law
Old Communists
Blue laws
Cleaning out the car before paying to have it cleaned
Thinking about painting
People who don't show up, or call if they're going to be late
People who change their phone numbers more than once in a lifetime
Going shopping with my wife
Going shopping for my wife
My wife going shopping with me
My wife going shopping for me
Stupid names, especially names that are not pronounced the way they're spelled
Shitty movies
Shitty TV shows
Hearing sloppy speech ("So, I was like, 'how the fuck are you?'")
Negotiating anything
Bending over for anything
Women with PMS
Fat people in tight pants
Plumbers' butt
Un-dyed hair roots
People who insist that Apple computers are easier to use than Windows computers
Junk mail
Wearing a tie
Newspaper sections that I pay to receive, sort out, schlep for recycling--but NEVER read
Duplicate copies of Parade magazine. One copy is one too much.
The New York Post
Errors in newspapers, magazines and books
People who buy a bankrupt restaurant, spend six months and a million bucks redecorating, and then open and quickly go bankrupt. They could've done fine with new paint, menus and tablecloths.
Too-small napkins
Too-small beverage glasses
Overpriced eyeglasses
Paying 40 cents more for a medium cup of tea instead of a small one.
Waiting for a table in a restaurant
Waiting for a doctor
Waiting for people who are late (especially my late wife)
Waiting in line at the Post Office
Waiting for my turn to pick up a prescription
Waiting for anything
Waiting for anyone
Unavailability of clam chowder except on Fridays
Unavailability of Manhattan clam chowder--even in Manhattan
Too-salty potato chips
Intermittent malfunctions
Cars that won't start
Slow gasoline pumps
Gasoline pumps that require me to hold the trigger
Getting rained-on while filling my tank
Shoppers with full carts ahead of me on the supermarket express lane
Parking lots with too many handicapped spots and too few regular spots
Soda with no carbonation
Crab legs (They taste good, but are too much work.)
Conservative assholes on the radio
Liberal assholes on the radio
Stomach aches
Pains and problems that doctors can't diagnose or cure
Computer fuckups
Bad toupees
Gefilte fish
Bottled water from Dannon ("Yogurt water")
Most other soft cheeses
Tzatziki sauce (I eat gyros with tomato sauce.)
Dumb holidays that force me to pay employees to skip work and go shopping or get drunk
Trimming shrubbery
Medical insurance
Forgetting to do things
Forgetting how to do things
Forgetting names
Misplacing keys
Misplacing important papers
Cleaning the pool filter cartridges
Buying things that have to be returned
Wasting taxpayers' money
Crooks in pulpits and politics
Picking up broken glass
Tech support people who repeat my question but don't understand it
Under-cooked eggrolls
Exotic lettuce (i.e., anything other than iceberg or the stuff in Caesar salad)
Pizza with too much cheese
White "pizza" (if it doesn't have tomato sauce, it's not pizza, Goddammit!)
Pens that run out of ink too soon
Having too many of the wrong-size batteries
Having too many of the wrong printer cartridges
Printer cartridges that go out-of-date before using them
Getting phone calls from stock brokers, search engine wizards and insurance salesmen
Schlepping out the recycling bin
Restaurant kitchens with a huge selection of good ingredients, but nothing good on the menu
Citroens and other ugly cars
Our non-metric system
Converting Fahrenheit to Celcius, and vice-versa
Learning to use a new camera
Forgetting how to use a camera
Losing remote controls
Chinese restaurants that don't understand what NO SCALLIONS means
Doggie drool on a book
Picking up dog shit
People who are afraid of my big, friendly dog
Changing flat tires
Ice cream joints that don't make ice cream sodas
Forgetting what day it is
Late airplanes
Shoveling snow
Las Vegas water
Store salesmen who assume I want to bargain when I really don't want to buy the ugly piece of crap
Bad pistachios
Bad pickles
Bad pizza
Bad waiters
Too-wet coleslaw
Ice cream that has defrosted and refrozen
Power failures
People who are sure they won't like something that they've never tried
Senior moments (a.k.a., brain farts)
Forms that have to be filled out with a pen on paper, not on the web.
Forms that have spaces that are too small for the info that has to go in the spaces
People on the phone who ask for an account number a few seconds after I keyed-in the account number
People who misspell my name
Errors in take-out or delivered food
Misdirected mail
Rectal exams
Prostate biopsies with no anesthetic
Waiting for results of a prostate biopsy

I'm sure I'll think of more to add. Readers' contributions are welcome.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If I can't get gyoza and miso in heaven, I don't want to go

Sunday I was at a brunch gathering of about 25 people I had never met before--but am related to.

We are all decedents or spouses of decedents of Zalmon ("Solomon") Cohen. Zalmon traveled with his family from Poland to New York, sailing on the S.S. Sheffield on July 15, 1887.

Zalmon died in 1908, and in 1919 members of his family formed the Zalmon Cohen Foundation in New York City to provide proper burials for themselves and their descendants. This was quite common in the early 1900s. Many "burial societies" were formed by fraternal organizations, unions, religious institutions, alumni groups, and refugees from the same ghettos in the old country. They re-created miniature versions of the old 'hood within cemeteries in the New World.

My father's mother's father, Joseph Goldstein, was a son-in-law of Zalmon Cohen, and it is through him that my wife and I have inherited final resting places. We'll end up in an old cemetery in Flushing, in the borough of Queens, in New York City, which I would not have chosen for myself. But the price is right. I pay $10 per year in dues, which also covers meals at the meetings--Jewish food, not Japanese like in the photo above.

Back in the 1980s I picked out a pretty spot in a Westchester County cemetery, on a hill with a nice view of the Saw Mill River. But since there is not likely to be a periscope that will penetrate six feet of dirt, and pass through the live/dead barrier, I've reluctantly agreed to be planted in Flushing. (Which, of course, is better than being flushed in Flushing.)

Ironically, my wife Marilyn and I lived in Flushing for two years in the mid-1970s, so our interments can be viewed as a homecoming of sorts. Also ironically, some folks on Marilyn's side of the family now live or have lived in Flushing, and some are buried in the same cemetery where we are headed.

Our ghosts will have a hell of a reunion party. Flushing has great Asian food.

Oh shit! I forgot. If I'm dead I won't be able to enjoy the gyoza, tempura, teriyaki, sushi, spring rolls, spare ribs, crispy fish in garlic sauce, Chinese eggplant, miso and wonton soup.

DAMN! No gyoza? Death sucks. Maybe it would be better to be buried in Utah or England where my ghost would not be jealous of the folks eating crappy food up above.

There's a popular song lyric that says, "In Heaven there is no beer. That's why we drink it here."

And the response to "You can't take it with you" is "If I can't take it with me, I ain't going."

Yesterday I got results of a chest X-ray and stress test. My doc said the results are fine. After I upload this blog I have to start chugging a ghastly oral laxative (even worse than Rolling Rock Beer) to empty me out in preparation for a prostate biopsy. In a few weeks, I'll have lithotripsy treatment for kidney stones. I'm also supposed to get a second lens implant.

It's all downhill after age 18. If my prostate is not as good as my heart, I may have to get some gyoza--FAST. Make 'em crisp, and hurry up, please.

(Gyoza photo from

Monday, August 30, 2010

Does a miscarriage count as a dead child? Why a dog can be better than a human child. Who will visit the nursing home?

Once a pregnancy is confirmed, the future parents--and the extended family and community--focus on the future delivery date.

Paint colors or wallpaper are picked out. Names are evaluated. Toys and clothes are accumulated. Jokes are told about preschools and colleges.

And then, a few months early, the doctor delivers a blood clot instead of a child. It gets flushed or bagged and burned. There is not even enough to "deserve" a funeral and a gravestone.

After, there are tears, testing and finger-pointing. Is it her fault or his fault or their fault? Could she have done something differently to "hold onto" the baby? What do they tell people?

Should they try again? How many times should they try again? Sex becomes a job, not romance, when scheduled with a calendar and thermometer? ("I'm really not in the mood but we have to do it today.")

What about adoption? Are they bad people if they don't want to adopt? Heck, even gay couples adopt.

What are the long-term effects of childlessness?

My wife and I had two misses. I sometimes feel that by not reproducing, by not being part of the human continuum, I've never really grown up and I became my own kid. I buy myself lots of big boy's toys.

We do have a wonderful and loving Golden Retriever. I scoop up dog shit instead of paying for weddings and college.

We have wonderful nieces and nephews, but as we get older, we wonder who will be available to wipe up our drool when we're in the nursing home. I paid for a year of college for one nephew and told him that he owes me a year of drool-wiping. He thought I was joking. I smiled when I said it, but I wasn't joking.

I'm sorry if this depresses anyone, but maybe it will provide a push for someone to write a book about men and miscarriages. I don't think I can do it.

(Hazmat bag from

Friday, August 27, 2010

Avoiding idiocy at funerals

When a Jewish person dies, the funeral is scheduled very quickly--often the next day if family members can arrive quickly enough.

There is no wake, viewing or visitation spread over several days before interment.

The coffin is CLOSED, with no need to dress the dearly departed in fine clothes and bling, or to apply makeup or posthumous plastic surgery. The lasting memories of friends and family can be of a person--not of a corpse.

I'm Jewish but have attended a few non-Jewish funerals. People approach and study the tarted-up corpse (that may be wearing clothes that would never have been selected or tolerated in life, and perhaps with hair parted in the wrong direction, dirty eyeglasses, or some other failure in "preparation"). The DB usually looks more like a manikin than a person, and much less lifelike than a DB provided by a prop house for Law and Order or CSI.

Inevitably, there will discussion of the DB's appearance, and some idiot will remark that "Uncle Willy sure looks fine."

It has taken me great restraint to not respond, "You fucking idiot! Your uncle is as DEAD as a goddam lamb chop in a case at the supermarket. Willy is now a piece of meat! What the hell does it matter what a piece of meat looks like--if you are not considering buying and eating it?

I've never said it in person, but I have said it here.

Keep the box closed. It will save some money, avoid some tears, and avoid some idiocy.

(BTW the photo shows a LIVE person at a protest about health services, from BBC News)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cremation is cheating

A man I knew died about ten years ago. He had seldom visited his parents' graves, and assumed his own children would seldom or never visit his.

He therefore announced that he wanted to be cremated, with his ashes divided into three piles and distributed to his wife and two daughters, so the survivors would always be nearby.

I've never felt a strong bond with the dead, whether they have been reduced to box of rotting flesh or a pot of powder. I can think about my dead relatives whenever I want to, without visiting a cemetery or running my fingers through ashes.

I would probably feel pretty weird if a long black car or a big brown truck showed up at my door, and the uniformed driver handed me an urn with a packing slip announcing the arrival of Uncle Benny. I'd probably stick the urn in a basement closet along with a bowling trophy won by my late father-in-law in 1957.

I actually don't like cremation at all.

I fully recognize that burial space near big cities is being rapidly used up. In some places people are buried head-up/feet-down to save space. Obviously, reduction to ashes would save significant real estate, but cremation is cheating the system.

We are all part of the food chain.

Every time we inhale microbes or bite into a burger, we are implicitly agreeing to a contract.

We get to eat and absorb other life forms now, to support our bodies as long as we need them. When we're dead but still fresh, our bodies should first be scavenged for any useful parts. Eyes and skin and a pancreas and heart may improve the lives of other human beings.

The leftovers become the equivalent of compost, and life goes on. The rejected pieces should be buried in a rot-able container--so we can become worm food. Then the worms help grow plants, which absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen which supports the life forms up above our carcasses. If cows or other creatures munch on "our" grass, trees, flowers or bushes, we earn extra points. It's kind of like trading carbon credits.

The ash urn shown above is available from Strangely, they sell urns and pet caskets, but no caskets for human beings.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Text for my gravestone

When I was young, I had delusions of immortality. I honestly thought that if I was on a plane with 393 other people and the plane crashed, I would be the sole survivor. It was probably a combination of innocence, ignorance, egomania and utter lack of confidence in others.

I also felt that if I went into a jungle alone and had to face hostile tigers, alligators or Viet Cong I would survive; but if I was part of a huge army, someone else would fuck up, and we would all get killed. I didn’t like teamwork.

Now, decades later, I have a more realistic assessment of my future. I know I won’t live forever. And since I don’t want some-one else to mess up my epitaph, here it is.
"OK, what's next?"
I like “Rockwell Bold” for the typeface. Someone just has to fill in the final date and pick a nice piece of rock.

As for the words, yes, I’m an incurable optimist. I've always been resilient. I recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments and I’m always looking ahead. On freezing days in January I know that the Earth gets more sunlight each day and is warming up. Spring is coming. Soon my dog and I will be in the pool and my ancient Fiat Spider will be out of the garage.

Someone, please make sure my stone is done right. My words are important to me. If you fuck it up, I’m gonna come back and bite your neck. Thanks very much.