The New York Times
July 14, 2011
Much of the budget mess may stem from a deep cultural antipathy toward recognizing our own mortality.
I hope you had the chance to read and reread Dudley Clendinen’s splendid essay, “The Good Short Life,” in The Times’s Sunday Review section. Clendinen is dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or A.L.S. If he uses all the available medical technology, it will leave him, in a few years’ time, “a conscious but motionless, mute, withered, incontinent mummy of my former self.”
Instead of choosing that long, dehumanizing, expensive course, Clendinen has decided to face death as one of life’s “most absorbing thrills and challenges.” He concludes: “When the music stops – when I can’t tie my bow tie, tell a funny story, walk my dog, talk with Whitney, kiss someone special, or tap out lines like this – I’ll know that Life is over. It’s time to be gone.”
Read the full article in The New York Times