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"...my notion of hell is having to outlive my friends..."

"It's not all that tragic (his diagnosis of terminal cancer)...I'm sixty-eight and I'm already tired of being an old man. Let me tell you something about old age. When you're sixty, all sorts of pleasant things happen to you. Pretty girls fight for the privilege of sitting at your feet, of filling your glass and lighting your cigarette. Callow youth can't compete with you. But when you get closer to seventy, they begin to avoid you. You can see them thinking: is that old bastard still around? Old age is a disease like other infirmities and people are afraid they'll catch it from you. Besides, my notion of hell is having to outlive my friends, and mine are going fast. And that's why I have no desire to reach seventy."
- Finley Peter Dunne, from Mr. Dooley Remembers (1963)

October 17, 2010 in Books | Permalink