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Friday, January 19, 2007

RIP Art Buchwald

Though it was known that Art Buchwald was ailing, the news of his passing away yesterday was a shock. His syndicated column, The Hindu used to carry, was a must-read for me during school days, on the recommendation of my English teacher Mr Prem C Nair. Not all this articles were set in the Washington political context; many were based on international politics, and it was easy to relate to the topic.

Buchwald made people laugh, but he had a such a tragic childhood. His mother was mentally unstable, he lived a number of years in orphanages. Probably, the sense of humour was a protection against the hardship of life.

Even when he suffered heart attack, had his leg amputated, suffered kidney failure, he never lost his sense of humour. He even confronted death the same way. He preferred to court death, stopped dialysis, and moved into a hospice.

People came calling, probably thinking that it would be last meeting. But he announced to them that in the hospice that he was having a whale of time. And, in what he describes as a medical mystery, he recovered, and moved out, alive!

He has been an inspiration on how one should look at life. "The world is a satire. All you are doing is recording it," he said once.

Here are some of his gems:

  • The buffalo isn't as dangerous as everyone makes him out to be. Statistics prove that in the United States more Americans are killed in automobile accidents than are killed by buffalo.
  • Just when you think there's nothing to write about, Nixon says, "I am not a crook." Jimmy Carter says, "I have lusted after women in my heart." President Reagan says, "I have just taken a urinalysis test, and I am not on dope.
  • Every time you think television has hit its lowest ebb, a new program comes along to make you wonder where you thought the ebb was.
  • Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got.
  • We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don't think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great. If you're hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time.

  • We'll miss you, Art. Rest In Peace. (Obit on New York Times)

    3 comments:

    1. Wonderful post. I used to read him on The Hindu as well. I am glad he lived to be 81. Worthy years!

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    2. That was one great guy - many have taken after him in some way or the other when it comes to writing style, to a certain extent Dave Barry and some other contemporaries...I remember reading him whenever I laid my hands on a Hindu---MHSRIP

      ReplyDelete
    3. That was one great guy - many have taken after him in some way or the other when it comes to writing style, to a certain extent Dave Barry and some other contemporaries...I remember reading him whenever I laid my hands on a Hindu---MHSRIP

      ReplyDelete