I suppose it starts with the purchase of of a couple of seemingly slim James Thurber volumes that , while they were quite enjoyable to read , I was still only on page 50 of the first volume . About a month ago, for my 55th birthday, my very good Australian friend Carol sent me a copy of Randy Pausch's book "The Last Lecture" , based on his final lecture . Randy Pausch was a young man (mid 40's) who had been hit with a virulent Pancreatic Cancer. A horrible situation for a man with a wife and young family who he would never see grow up. One of my heroes , the comedian Bill Hicks , was taken from us in the same way. In 1986 I got hit with ITP which meant that may bllod wasnt clotting resulting in heavy internal bleeding. At the time I was scared that I' wouldn't see my daughters (3 and 5 at the time) grow up , 3 years earlier my eldest daughter had been on the terminal ward (briefly) at The Children's Hospital at Pendleton Manchester - needless to see we're both here and doing well.
Anyway back to Randy Pausch . He was the inventor of ALICE a software development environment that enables people to easily learn programming . I've never seen it but my friend Carol uses it in her class on a daily basis. He knew his time was limited so he created and filmed his last last lecture and created the book with I got through in two days after giving up on James Thurber . In it he set down thoughts , aspiriations , regrets and advice in a remarkably easy read . He does come up with some expanded bullet points on how to live life with vaguely remind me of Sun Tzu's surprisingly readable and concise "The Art Of War" . Any I recommend you get a copy of the book and check out The Last Lecture website here. The lecture is youtubed below:
One ogf the other things I wanted to put in this is that whenever any dies or is close to it I feel I must appear incredibly callous and cold hearted because usually it doesn't really sadden me at all , and this is the reason:
As a kid I had bad dreams, I'd be in a field crying my eyes out because my dad was dead . I don't know how it happened but would wake up in tears and my dad was always there , working in the yard or wherever . He is still with us at 798 going strong , driving his Mercedes with his Post Office Post Box maintenance contract. Anyway soon after that my uncle Trevor took an assisted passage to Australia , the other side of the world . Letters came and once a year we had a short , very expensive (£10 a minute I think) phone call , I realised I wouldn't see him again . I knew he was there , but I just had no real contact . And that is what I feel happens when someone dies , we lose contact .. for now. If evolution has taught us anything it's that we grow and save the best bits and I think our "being" continues elsewhere. Aad that's why I seem so callous in the face of death.
This is a bit like opne of those Billy Connolly stories that wanders all over the place except I'm not reallly sure where I started and where I'm coming back to.
We live in wondrous times and if people concetrated more on the good , the world would be a much better place . If you have a problem fix it or deal with it , there is usually help around. Anyway maybe I've gone on about this a bit too long but c'est la vie