Sunday, April 03, 2005

Bad Timing!

One of the burdens of being a living, sentient being is the fact that we all can ponder, but few of us can know when we are going to die: when the giant roulette wheel in the sky will stop, and our number will be up.

I saw a friend of mine who lives in Israel recently. He told me a joke about the last days of Yasser Arafat. Apparently, Arafat was on his death bed, and he asked his physician basically "How long have I got doc?". His doctor replied "Well Yasser, we don't know exactly, but we do know you'll die on a Jewish holiday." Arafat then said "But how can you know I'm going to die on a Jewish holiday". To which, of course, the physician replied "Well any day you die will be a Jewish holiday!".

Another powerful man, Pope John Paul II, has been very unwell for several weeks, but it would seem that even he had no way of knowing when his time would come. If only the Vatican authorities had thought to ask me, I could have told them it would be on or around the 4th of April. "How could you know this, Mighty Sog?", I hear you ask, "Is it because of your extensive undergraduate medical training, your 2 postgraduate diplomas, your Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, or the deep insight into the human condition that 16 years as a GP has given you?". No, it's because Sog and Wosog are flying to Rome for a city break on the 4th of April, and they really didn't want to arrive in the middle of one of the biggest funerals the world has ever seen!

But that's life---or, I suppose, death---for you!