94 and Not Dead Yet: I Endeavor To Give Satisfaction, Sir

by Reg Green (August 2023)

, Paul Cox, 2013


This week, after learning of the deaths of two people I was close to, I was struck again by the disparity of our departures. One went without warning, the other after a very long and painful illness.

There are as many kinds of death as there are lives and here’s one from Anthony Powell, the prolific British novelist: “As the eighth decade gradually consumes itself, shadows lengthen, a masked and muffled figure loiters persistently at the back of every room as if waiting for a word at the most tactful moment: a presence more easily discernible than heretofore that exhales undoubted menace yet also extends persuasive charm of an enigmatic kind.”

Seen this way, death could be like Jeeves serving a nightcap after a busy day. That wouldn’t be bad, would it? Not bad at all.


Table of Contents


Reg Green is an economics journalist who was born in England and worked for the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Times of London. He emigrated to the US in 1970. His books include The Nicholas Effect and his website is nicholasgreen.org.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


2 Responses

  1. Nothing comes after death… only complete oblivion, like it or not. And that is why death is the enemy of society. Death’s eventuality renders life itself purposeless. Society had to invent religion to give life a purpose. But humans have the capacity to reason… and that runs counter to religion. I have struggled with the conundrum for decades. Why write? Why cartoon? Well, the only reason I could come up with was simple: to divert attention from the futility of life, even if but for a moment. I have written so much over the years… to what purpose? To eventually fill up a dumpster soon after my death? Some purpose, eh?! Death obnubilates everything even the legacy nimrods. And so I write death poems, poems society would hate like the following from my book, “Upon the Cusp”:

    Why I Write

    Trying to make
    out of
    no sense
    simply nonsense,
    which is why I write…

    La Danse Macabre

    Outside, the walkers,
    sometimes alone,
    sometimes coupled
    —a veritable band
    of future corpses!
    And I run with that drum;
    they walk with the dogs;
    others playing lawnmowers,
    or blasting weed-whackers!

    Outside, everyone in step
    and unaware of his or her performance.
    Well, I can see it; I can feel it,
    as I move in futility, I know I’m in it…

    At the Tip of Mouse Island

    It’s a death feel there
    on the end of Port aux Basques
    —the waves crashing white foam
    upon the rocks and the wind blasting
    furiously, while the sky a dismal overcast gray.
    And there I sit alone in my car
    —my little bastion—, wondering
    when my turn shall come, wondering
    when I too shall dissipate into nothingness,
    melding into that white foam of the harsh sea…

    And so I remain… upon the cusp. It is creativity and exploration that somehow
    manage to keep me going… though whereto? Nulle part, of course! What those activities really do is periodically and momentarily take my mind off the futility of reality, or rather the reality of futility. Yes, insanity rules…

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