Or, if wet, the library

August 7, 2009

Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite authors for many reasons.

Firstly, he wrote some wonderful fantasy books that made me laugh.

Then he turned his hand to wonderful fantasy books that took the mickey out of other fantasy books.

After that, he wrote wonderful fantasy books that took the mickey out of real life. This was very cool.

I adore The Truth – I wave it around at non-journalists as the best example of what life is like as a reporter. It’s accurate down to a tee (including the manner in which people begin to talk to you when they discover you’re part of The Media).

Now he’s written what might very well be his most important piece ever and I find myself linking to the Daily Mail for the first and possibly last time ever (unless I’ve slipped into an alternate universe: always a possibility).

“We have been so successful in the past century at the art of living longer and staying alive that we have forgotten how to die. Too often we learn the hard way. As soon as the baby boomers pass pensionable age, their lesson will be harsher still. At least, that is what I thought until last week.

Now, however, I live in hope – hope that before the disease in my brain finally wipes it clean, I can jump before I am pushed and drag my evil Nemesis to its doom, like Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty locked in combat as they go over the waterfall”.

Terry’s talking about euthanasia, about what to do if and when (actually, just when really) the End comes.

The UK House of Lords has just woken up to the idea that some people will die and that those people tend, currently, to be alive. And of that (roughly) 100% who will die, a proportion of them will want to decide how, where and when to do it because medical science has given us more understanding of illness than it’s given us cures.

“I intend, before the endgame looms, to die sitting in a chair in my own garden with a glass of brandy in my hand and Thomas Tallis on the iPod.

Oh, and since this is England, I had better add, ‘If wet, in the library’. Who could say that this is bad?”

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