Wednesday, April 1, 2020

If I should die before I wake ...

Give my shoes, the tri-colored Giorgio Brutini dandies, to the funeral director. I want to go my great reward in stylish footwear. I don’t understand the how or why, but in the past two years I’ve developed an odd shoe fetish. I now  look at the Johnston & Murphy catalogue the way I used to look at Playboy. Either way, I imagine proper afterlife footwear will matter and I want to make a good first impression.

Donate my golf clubs to the First Tee organization so they’ll go to some less fortunate. Nothing has made me more persistently miserable than trying to properly strike a golf ball. Conversely, few things have made me as happy as the time I’ve spent either anticipating golf or talking about playing golf after we’re done. First Tee’s a wonderful organization for perpetuating the furies and joys of this confounding game.

I have two quality Cross pens. Give the gold one to Josie, the pearl one to Lucy. Tell them the pens are sentimentally significant to the old man. I commemorated the publication of my two most recent books with the splurge and signed lots of books with each. Then tell them that one day, guaranteed, each will lose these pricey pens. They will feel bad, like they let me down. Tell them not to fret. They’re just pens. I like my pens, but I love my daughters.

I have about 15 Tommy Bahama camp shirts. Wearing one makes me feel perfectly relaxed. Perhaps because it’s rare I’m wearing one when I’m not holding a bourbon on the rocks. Have a party at the Tin Lizzy and let all my friends fight over their favorites.

Please give my wife an introduction to a handsome handyman who’s good with a wrench. After 25 years with me, she’s deserving of a man who can fix a leaky toilet, mobilize a busted vacuum cleaner and is eager to wage war with nature when the lawn gets a shade past shaggy. Please, too, preserve the dignity of my memory by keeping the courtship chaste through at least 2027.

Give all my Winston Churchill books to some bone-headed liberal so that he may absorb some of the warmth, wit and wisdom of one of history’s great conservatives, to me the most interesting man since Jesus Christ.

Give all my FDR books to some bone-headed conservative so that she can absorb some of the warmth, wit and wisdom of one of history’s great liberals and see why Churchill with an open-heart revered him more than he did any other man alive.

Am I forgetting anything?

I am.

My internal organs!

Give my kidneys to a pair of young single mothers who without the donation would orphan darling children who need their mommies. Give my liver to the army vet who’s struggled both physically and spiritually since the goddamned war. Let it be my liver that leads to a change of heart and may he grow beloved as he devotes his life to helping others.

My heart? Let’s give that to the dear granny whose own, though full of love, is weakened by hereditary defect. Let it be my heart that beats for her as she delights yet another generation of lapped loved ones.

Save the best for my eyes. Give them to the boy born blind and let him see the exact same things I saw. Let him see all the glory, the smiles, the kindness, the beauty and the all the hope that’s hidden in the pessimistic darkness.

Lastly, bestow upon the whole world my native optimism which has sustained me through so much unbidden tumult. It’s useful even when it’s foolhardy, giving birth as it does to the conviction that we’ll beat this and what will emerge in its ugly shadow will be a better, more tolerant place of cheer we can all share.

And on that day let there be a grand jubilee like the world’s never seen, a party of universal revelry  …

On second thought, screw it.

Gimme all my shit back. Right now — starting with the shoes.

I’m not done kicking ass and, by God, I intend to look sharp while I’m at it.

And tell Mr. Fix-It to stop staring at my wife or he’s first!

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