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Going Out in a Blaze of Glory
Don Doane checked out of his life the way I want to: On top of his game.
Perhaps you read about it. Doane, 62, bowled a 300 game at Ravenna Bowl in Ravenna, Mich. Moments later, he died.
That’s the way to do it. Achieve something you’ve been going for most of your life, and then knock off. That’s wonderful, especially if you try to see it from Don’s point of view. His last experience on this earth was to be the best at something, and to receive the congratulations of his friends. In fact, he had just turned to acknowledge a well-wisher behind him when he gorked and slid out of his chair. According to the guys on his team, he was gone when he hit the floor.
There’s something really wonderful about that. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather go into the afterlife with “Way to go!” ringing in my ears instead of “Nurse! Adrenaline! Stat!”
I guess all I have to do now is figure out something I could do all day, every day for the rest of my life, and then do that until the guy with the scythe points his bony, beckoning finger at me.
It isn’t going to be bowling, I know that. I used to bowl, and I would put my talent for the game at somewhere between “Neophyte” and “Danger To Those Around Him.” I could bowl every day I have left on this planet and still not improve.
Neither is it going to be golf. Smacking a hole-in-one and then getting your ticket punched would be perfect, if I still played, but I don’t. I simply have too much respect for the game to befoul it with my lousy play.
Hmm. This is not promising.
Actually, since the only game I play anymore is Yahtzee, maybe I should move out of the world of sports.
The problem is, I don’t do anything that really has a “best” that you can quantify. I don’t do business deals. I don’t make executive decisions. I write and I speak, and it’s almost always making fun of something, usually myself. I don’t think I want to make a wisecrack about my belt size and then keel over. Although if it was a good enough wisecrack, it might be nice to go out to the sound of laughter.
That’s how comedian Dick Shawn died, you know – in the middle of a show in San Diego. For a while the audience thought it was part of the act.
The Marx Brothers’ father, Frenchie, went out in a glorious way, too. An enthusiastic but luckless pinochle player, he was playing against the nurses at a hospital where he was being treated. He bid 400, made the bid, won the hand, and died. Not bad.
Oh well. I guess you and I and about everyone we know will go out with significantly less glory than a 300 game or a 400-point bid. That being the case, it’s left to us just to live the best lives we can, with plenty of love and kindness and compassion, to take with us not congratulations or laughter, but the warm, eternal love of those who matter most.
And maybe a Yahtzee. All sixes.
© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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