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Old Age and Dying of Your Death

While time wastes me, I'm getting even, wasting a little of it, browsing the internet.

I see that Oscar Mayer died in Wisconsin, at the age of 95. His wife claims that he died of "old age." I was really happy to read that, because nobody seems to die much of old age these days. It's almost always other things, like cancer. Back in the day, people used to die of old age all the time, but not any more. Although they can sill die of "natural causes." Which begs the question of which causes are unnatural.


Spanish has an expression, "morir de su muerte" ("to die of one's death"). I always liked it and assumed that it meant something akin to what we mean when we say that somebody dies of "natural causes." Probably more accurate, though, would be to say that it is to die the death one is fated to die. I don't know how prevalent the expression is these days. I remember running across it a lot in old (say, 16th century) texts. Googling it, I see that Eduardo Galeano uses it in his book about fútbol.

He's talking about Manuel Francisco dos Santos, a Brazilian who played in the fifties and sixties, nicknamed "Garrincha." Galeano calls him the player who more than anybody else brought "alegría" (happiness) to the pitch, even though one of his legs was longer than the other and both of his feet were crooked. He played alongside a teenage Pele in the '58 World Cup (after almost being cut from the team because of his "mental illness"). Garrincha was MVP in Brazil's 1962 World Cup victory. People loved to watch him play; he was a goof, and he apparently had ridiculously mad dribbling skills.

Galeano: "A winner? A loser with good luck. And good luck doesn't last ... Garrincha died of his death, poor, drunk and alone."


Photographer Akshay Mahajan: "Once upon a time there was a couple called Rajender and Veena. After a lifetime spent working hard and bringing up their children, Rajender got a watch when he retired from the Air Force and they finally realized their Indian middle-class dream or so they thought: a little house in New Dehli, Vasant Enclave. Urbanisation seems to have made life a shade drabber for the aged, left alone while the rest of the family members chase their insatiable need for self aggrandizement. And having to live with uncertainty as to where they would be palmed off next."



Lemmy Killmeister penned the song, Killed By Death.

Re: Motorhead

I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip.

December 2018



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