Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Life Is Short for Many

Wikipedia contains a lot of fascinating biographical information. But reading the bios of famous people and not-so-famous people on that site is a really good way to be reminded of one's own mortality, especially if one combines that information with the calculator at Just enter any DOB and DOD, and one quickly gets the amount of time that elapsed between those dates. That could be fun when entering info found in the local cemetery, since one is seldom involved with those people to any great extent. But when it's people you fondly remember, and when you are already quite a bit older than the person was when he or she died, it can take on a macabre tone.

Lowell George, for instance, was one of the principal members of the band Little Feat. He died on 6/29/79. He was born earlier than I was, but not by enough for one to think that he'd been 57 when he died. (His birthdate was  4/13/1945, so he was 34 years and a couple of months old when he died.) Even Gene Eugene, from the excellent Christian band Adam Again, died at the age of 38.

Actually, you don't even need to use to calculate the duration, in many cases. Wikipedia helpfully provides that information for you in many cases.

Of couse, there is no entry at Wikipedia for me. So I have to run the numbers for myself. As of today, I've spent 57 years, 6 months, 3 days on this earth.

Methusaleh is said to have lived "at the age of 969, seven days before the beginning of the Great Flood". Wow! I'd hate to have to buy all of the candles for THAT cake! 

Eubie Blake once said, "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." He died at 96. That quote was engraved on his tombstone.

Eubie was very old, compared to the average age when men die in America, but very young compared to Methusaleh.. Then again, we really have no idea how that thing about Methusaleh was measured, or how accurately it might have been reported.

We're told that the improvements in medical technology and expertise have extended the life expectancy of Americans. Still, when one sees one's contemporaries seemingly dropping like flies, it tends to be sobering. For some, it's seen as a call to "get right with God". For others, it's seen as an indication that they are running out of time in which to do things they've always wanted to do.

I got right with God years ago, when I was just 13. But I confess that I now find myself wishing that I'd gotten the chance to do a lot of things I always wanted to do. Particularly in terms of making love to a lovely woman.