Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stiff Upper Lip


Christopher Hitchens (picture above taken about two weeks ago), showing the fortitude and grace we expected in an essay about his illness, "Topic of Cancer":

The new land (of illness) is quite welcoming in its way. Everybody smiles encouragingly and there appears to be absolutely no racism. A generally egalitarian spirit prevails, and those who run the place have obviously got where they are on merit and hard work. As against that, the humor is a touch feeble and repetitive, there seems to be almost no talk of sex, and the cuisine is the worst of any destination I have ever visited.
.......

In whatever kind of a “race” life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist.
.........

I have been taunting the Reaper into taking a free scythe in my direction and have now succumbed to something so predictable and banal that it bores even me. Rage would be beside the point for the same reason. Instead, I am badly oppressed by a gnawing sense of waste. I had real plans for my next decade and felt I’d worked hard enough to earn it.

.............

My heart and blood pressure and many other registers are now strong again: indeed, it occurs to me that if I didn’t have such a stout constitution I might have led a much healthier life thus far. Against me is the blind, emotionless alien, cheered on by some who have long wished me ill. But on the side of my continued life is a group of brilliant and selfless physicians plus an astonishing number of prayer groups. On both of these I hope to write next time if—as my father invariably said—I am spared.

1 comment:

Generic said...

What occurs to me is that Hitchens truly chose the right profession, if his primary reponse even to lingering death is to use it as fodder for his writing. Comes as natural as breathing. Wondering if he famous "manner" will get in the way (trivialize it) or if he really will stare into the pit and describe what he sees.