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Saturday, 25 January 2014
Passed as a doornail

A few weeks ago I made a will. Not because I'm expecting to die soon, but because I'm not, and still feel that its contents and purpose have nothing to do with me. Of course I could get run over by a bus -- this seems to be the usual manner of untimely death -- but overall I'm  pretty confident that this Will won't be my Last, as it claims to be.

Shortly afterwards, a saleswoman from the will-writing firm called to offer me a safety deposit facility in which to place my will, together with a list of contacts: "to make things easier for the beneficiaries after your passing".

Passing? It's bad enough to hear that others have "passed", but to euphemise one's own death, to oneself, is just perverse. Once you've passed you'll be past caring.

What's wrong with death, anyway? It is what it is and it goes with doornail. Passing is for fancies, tests and wind. And Pippa, of course, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't a snuff poem.

Posted on 01/25/2014 12:00 AM by Mary Jackson
28 Jan 2014
Send an emailreactionry
Le Pétomane & The Pity
"Once you've passed you'll be past caring."
Who could care if a remotely controlled gas-passing Pujol-like device or even a Claymore mine is activated in their open casket at the funeral?
"They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love, desire and hate;
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate"
- Ernest Dowson
And could one be, if past caring, cross? 
My eldest daughter was a house guest at the mansion of the widow of a man who had been the literary editor of The Observer. He had earlier done intelligence work beginning in 1941 at Bletchley Park in the UK.  A picture sent to me suggested that the widow is the spitting image of the late Hannah Arendt - which tolled me back to the banality of email and to the characterization of Arendt as a Gnaedige Frau in a Commentary Magazine piece by Midge "Gnaedige Gnat" Decter. Said literary editor is said to have left his post over a row over the guilt or innocence of Alger Hiss.  The bio of his successor, "Terry" Kilmartin,   bears some resemblance to that of an infamous employee of Bletchley Park, but by now the Long-Suffering Reader is surely past Cairncross*.
- sorry