"Father," I said, "this is how I want to die"

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Kilmatead
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"Father," I said, "this is how I want to die&

Post by Kilmatead » 2009 Sep 01, 20:41

Among the more unsorrowful thoughts that go through a father's mind as he muses upon the face of his newborn son exists the usual silent platitude "I hope he leads a Long, Happy, Healthy and Just life."  This commonly masks the later realisation of "damn, another mouth to feed" - but thankfully the mangled and selective memory of history (and the history of memory) quickly eradicate this less salubrious reality.  In his mind nature's tricky pride comforts the uneasily fearsome soul by imagining the things this new small being of humanity may live to see - could Stephen Armstrong forsee in 1930 that his son Neil would covet the face of God upon the Moon?  Probably not, in all likelihood, but few men hear their own calling, much less understand another's - perchance they do listen for it, kissing the brow of their progeny.

What a father's mind does not muse upon, is how this newborn son shall die.

As men aspiring to delight in the reception of a Classical Education, we as a matter of course (in remembrance of Pliny) recall and praise the deaths of Cato, Socrates, and Cicero.  Indeed, Montaigne's essay from 1580 entitled "To Philosophize is to Learn How to Die" is something best committed to memory with a glass of Jack Daniels and a slow burning Royal Nicaraguan Colorado.

As noble obituaries go, perhaps Cicero's rings the more poetic:
Wikipedia wrote:Cicero's last words are said to have been, "There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly." He bowed to his captors, leaning his head out of the litter in a gladiatorial gesture to ease the task. By baring his neck and throat to the soldiers, he was indicating that he wouldn't resist. According to Plutarch, Herennius first slew him, then cut off his head. On Antony's instructions his hands, which had penned the Philippics against Antony, were cut off as well; these were nailed and displayed along with his head on the Rostra in the Forum Romanum according to the tradition of Marius and Sulla, both of whom had displayed the heads of their enemies in the Forum. Cicero was the only victim of the proscriptions to be displayed in that manner. According to Cassius Dio, Antony's wife Fulvia took Cicero's head, pulled out his tongue, and jabbed it repeatedly with her hairpin in final revenge against Cicero's power of speech.
The Lord could only imagine what the fathers of Sacco and Vanzetti thought upon their births.  Best left to history, that.

Like many a boy of a certain age, I was raised on the American television series King Fu.

As ignoble obituaries go, what might have gone through the mind of John Carradine in 1936 on the birth of his son Keith...
Wikipedia wrote:On June 4, 2009, Carradine was found dead in his room at the Swissôtel Nai Lert Park Hotel on Wireless Road, near Sukhumvit Road, in central Bangkok, Thailand.  A police official said Carradine was found hanging by a rope in the room's closet, and the Bangkok Post reported that his body was found curled up in the wardrobe with one end of a shoelace tied around his penis and the other end around his neck.  The same officer said: "Under these circumstances we cannot be sure that he committed suicide."  It has also been reported that Carradine was found "with his hands tied behind his back."  Carradine was in Bangkok to shoot his latest film, Stretch, and was expected to join the film crew for dinner on June 3. The crew noticed his absence when going out, but they assumed that he took a rest because of his age.  Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunand, a Thai forensic pathologist and Director of Central Institute of Forensic Science, stated the incident met four of the criteria for accidental death involving autoerotic asphyxiation leading to an autoerotic fatality. Police Lieutenant General Worapong Chewprecha, Commander of the Metropolitan Police, remarked that the closed circuit television installed within the hotel supported the theory that no other persons were involved with the death.  Carradine's representative and family members told the press that they believed the death to be accidental and not a suicide.  Chuck Binder, Carradine's manager of six years, indicated neither suicide nor accident was the likely cause since "the family has been told Carradine's hands were immobilized (behind his back) by the rope."  However, this is contradicted by photographic evidence from the scene published by Thai Rath newspaper, showing "hands apparently bound together above the head".  In July 2009, it was reported that a private pathologist, after carrying out a second autopsy, also ruled out the possibility of suicide, but was still unable to "determine whether Carradine's death was accidental or a homicide" and was awaiting further toxicology test results.  Two of Carradine's ex-wives (Gail Jensen and Marina Anderson) stated that his sexual interests included the practice of self-bondage. Carradine's funeral was held on June 13, 2009 in Los Angeles.
That we should be the authors of our own epitaphs would frighten our proud fathers something silly.

Good thing they muse not upon such things.

Welcome to the world, Cillian Sherry O'Reilly.  I wish his father, my friend David, all the best.

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Post by nikos » 2009 Sep 02, 05:56

i thought you were increasing your numbers ;)

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Post by Kilmatead » 2009 Sep 02, 06:16

Somebody shows me even a picture of a baby and whilst everyone else "coo's", all I see are the malevolent thoughts of patricide floating around it's little head.

Like the look in that bus-driver's eye as he taps impatiently on the gear-shift... looking right at you... always... right at you....  :shock:

Thomas Jefferson had a book in his voluminous library about stillborn children.  I know more of that subject than the other, which perhaps colours my outlook some.  All part of growing up. :?

But still... bus drivers are the true menace of our time...

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Post by nikos » 2009 Sep 02, 07:00

i'm getting married soonish (in a week) and i neither look forward to it nor to the offspring that will no doubt follow  :shock:

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Post by Kilmatead » 2009 Sep 02, 07:20

Perhaps you missed your calling from Mt. Athos?

Unlike the French Foreign Legion (for which you're too old), they don't have an age limit to apply.

(Oh, sorry, uh, "Congratulations!"  There, civic duty done. :D)

As the only decent American Poet Charles Bukowski said, "Love is a dog from hell."

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Post by pj » 2009 Sep 02, 13:01

nikos wrote:i'm getting married soonish (in a week) and i neither look forward to it nor to the offspring that will no doubt follow  :shock:
Having married off 2 of 4 children and myself within the past 12 months (one child having the distinction of being married longer than his father), all I can say on the lack of excitement expressed in the erstwhile quote, and with the assumption there is a measure of love in the coming union, is this:

Love is very perishable and truly lasts for only a single day. Thus each day upon waking you must resurrect that love from the ashes of the love from the day before, because, in the final analysis, love is a decision, not a feeling.

---------------

PJ in (stormy but loving) FL

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Post by nikos » 2009 Sep 02, 17:13

just to clarify there's no problem with "love" if you can call that after 4 years living together, i just don't see the point of getting the official stamp of approval! :)

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Post by Kilmatead » 2010 Feb 15, 21:36

nikos wrote:i neither look forward to it nor to the offspring that will no doubt follow
Your female (or "open-minded"-male) offspring are well catered for. :wink:

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