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Onions with a bit of beaverton on the side

Confessions of a realistic pollyanna

I will admit it. I enjoy reading various satirical websites on Facebook. Often times they have a very funny take on current events. Sites like "the Onion", Australia's "The Shovel", Canada's "The Beaverton" post news stories that are so outlandish, one can't help but laugh. Sometimes the headlines are just so utterly ridiculous. For instance, I am 99.999% certain that Chicago did not erect a 90 storey tower made up of meat. I have seen 90 storey towers in Chicago. They are made of steel and glass. I am sure not one of them contains pastrami or bologna.

Other times these fake news sites use exaggeration to make their point. For instance there is the story that people have started to light controlled wild fire burns in Washington to bring about a new political climate. This is clever on two fronts. It helps jog our memories about the horrible wild fires in Australia. It also is a sign of the dismay or millions of voters in the US who have had enough of the impasse in their congress.

Sometimes though, these fake news sites say something as a joke that gets me to thinking. Their humourous postings make me think something a new. Here is a case in point. Yesterday Hollywood star, Kirk Douglas, died at the ripe old age of 103. Mr. Douglas had suffered a severe stroke many years ago. Yet he recovered and lived many years after that event. As one of my friends said, "I thought he would never die. It was like he was immortal." Yesterday though Mr. Douglas did die.

The Onion today reported that Mr. Douglas died of an apparent age overdose. It does seem funny. I mean after all, how many movie stars, recording stars, and athletes have we lost due to drug overdoses. So why not an age overdose? It sounds so much better than dying of old age doesn't it?

This got me to thinking of the words we use when someone dies. Too often we use euphemisms when talking about death. You know the person is called the dearly beloved, the recently departed, or treasured loved ones. Rather than saying one died, we say they have gone over to the other shore, they have passed over to the otherside, they have gone to meet their maker, and they have received their eternal reward. We do anything rather than saying- this person is dead.

Normally when an elderly person passes away for no apparent reasons we say that they have died of old age. This seems to make older people frail, ticking time bombs just waiting for their time to come. Dying of old age seems so passive. But the thing is I know many people in their 80's and 90's (an occupational hazard/blessing) who are vibrant and contribute much to society. They are not sitting around waiting to die; they are embracing life to its fullest.

But there seems something edgy about dying from an age overdose. It sounds like the person was living life to its fullest right to the end and then whoosh it was done. The poet Dylan Thomas tells us that we should not walk quietly into the night- not passively follow death, but rage against it. If I get a chance to live a long life, may I rage against death and die from an age overdose. Don't let me give up and simply die from old age. Blessings

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