To Be or What? Art Buchwald and Death
Bennet Pomerantz

You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it.
   ~Art Buchwald

Art Buchwald, The Pulitzer Prize-winning author is dying from kidney and vascular ailments.  He checked into a hospice February 7th, after he chose to quit life-prolonging kidney dialysis. He is 80 years old.

For those who don't know Mr. Buchwald's work: In a half-century of writing, he wrote more than 8,000 newspaper columns and 30 books.  He is famous for whacking his favorite targets, politicians and self-righteous folks of every faith and irk. A man after my own heart

I have never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Buchwald. I was at a party once, where we both were guests . . . but I didn't have the guts to meet him. I do not know if I can get an invite now to meet him. I do not like to go to hospitals or hospices, but I tend to go out of respect for the person. I do not know him well enough to be put on this list to see him.

To think that this writer's voice will soon be silenced by an act of death, it stuns me slightly. Let's be honest, death happens to everyone and it doesn't take a holiday. If you disagree, how many people do you really know that are 2000 years old or more? Those who watch TV in the morning hear Willard Scott announcing on the TODAY show the people who make the century mark. To think Buchwald won't join these is a tragedy.

We all must remember that everyone goes. Some very quickly and some prolonged to the Nth degree. Some, like actor John Ritter, go before their time. I just hope mine is quick. I would enjoy dying in my sleep, dreaming about rowing a boat into the white light. I can hope and dream, can't I?

As we grow older in our life, friends and family passes on, it's a fact of life. When my father died, I felt a piece of me died with him. Death brings into focus to some what is really important in someone's life. There is the old expression if you remember "Someone never really dies, if you remember them."

I am feeling slightly mortal about hearing about Mr. Buchwald dying at eighty. Since I heard the news, I been watching over my aunt and my mother like hawks. I been saying silent prayers that I want them to live forever. I know it's a pipe dream, but I can still try.

So far things are going my way. I am known in the hospice as The Man Who Wouldn't Die. How long they allow me to stay here is another problem. I don't know where I'd go now, or if people would still want to see me if I weren't in a hospice. But in case you're wondering, I'm having a swell time -- the best time of my life.
  Having a High Time Where You'd Least Expect It, Washington Post March 7, 2006

People constantly ask me if there is an afterlife. It's a good chance for me to philosophize. I tell them, "If I knew I would tell you."
   The End. Or Maybe Not. Washington Post March 14, 2006

Bright words from a bright and wise man. When you go I will miss you, Art


I wrote this P.S.A. (Public Service Announcement) as a coda on a few of my other columns, I figure this addition fits well here in this column today.

On a personal and private note.  In the last couple of months, a few friends have passed away from different forms of cancer. Some of their deaths could have been prevented with early detection of their forms of the disease. So PLEASE I am asking, begging, requesting, urging (is that strong enough for all of you?) to get yourself checked out, a simple yearly physical.  Lets be preventive, the life you save may be your own. It gives wonderful piece of mind for you and those you love!

Food for Thought

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About the Writer:

Bennet Pomerantz is a media review columnist in 175 newspapers with his weekly column AUDIOWORLD. His fiction and reviews have appeared in the pages of Affaire De Coeur, Gateways, Mystery Scene, Power Star, The Hot Corner, Washington Entertainment Magazine, and many others. He is also known for his review appearances on the MCN Forum. View his web site at Audioworld.