Wednesday, April 02, 2008

We've come a long way

This morning, a good friend mentioned that he would like to know the date of his death, so that he can plan better. This evening, I read Michael Kinsley's "Mine is Longer than Yours ... The last boomer game ... Extending your life is the most selfish motive imaginable for doing anything. Do it by all means" in the current New Yorker. Both themes are oldies that prompt some of the best thinking (and more).

Kinsley concludes that, "It is a treasured corollary of the American Dream that most people who are successful in midlife were losers in high school. As you enter adult life, values change and the deck is reshuffled. You get another chance, and maybe, if you're lucky, the last laugh. But it isn't the last laugh. The deck is reshuffled again as you enter the last chapter. How long you live, how fast you age, whether you win or lose the cancer sweepstakes or the Parkinson's bingo -- all these have to do with the factors that determined your success or failure in the previous round."

The American Dream lines up against the capriciousness of the universe that we call unfairness. We have come a long way.