Friday, April 13, 2007

Death Watch Update: Sometimes words kill

Hugo Chavez -- who is fond of talking -- claims Fidel Castro is getting stronger every day and is even beginning to resume some of his el presidente duties.

This comes as a surprise to death watchers everywhere, who were all but certain Castro had bought a one-way ticket to state-controlled nothingness. Of course the first three rules of death watching are verify, verify and verify, so until we actually see Castro in public we're going to take Chavez as seriously as we take anyone who wears battle fatigues but isn't really in the military or ten years old.

People often write me wondering how, as death watcher, I can keep such a cool detachment from the breathing status of people -- people with husbands and wives and kids and parents and friends and pets.

It's not always easy. Just last night when New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's mangled body was thrust into the death watch cross hairs, death watchers -- to a man -- were sick about it. It's never fun, doing what we do, when someone with many more productive years, and a young family that loves him, is facing his ultimate demise.

Luckily it looks like Corzine is going to pull through. So let me take off my death watcher's cloak for a moment, get on my soapbox, and make a general societal criticism:

I'm so sick of this instant gratification culture we live in. Shame on you, Lady Scarlet Knights, you had to get your apology from Imus right away. Shame on you Imus, you had to get your forgiveness from the team right away.

Do you know what right away means? A dutiful governor, speeding down the Garden State Parkway, on his way to a shameless photo opportunity, and bam broken vertebra, cracked ribs, metal rods, ventilators, lungs full of blood and a cloudy future.

Anyway, if Corzine had died wouldn't it have been great if the New Jersey state legislature was able to appoint articulate and dignified Rutgers basketball coach Vivian Stringer replacement governor?

For the healing.

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