Rumors of My Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated
"In due course of time, when the body becomes old and practically invalid, it is subject to jara, the sufferings of old age. There are four basic kinds of suffering -- birth, old age, disease and death. No scientist or philosopher has ever been able to make a solution to these four miserable conditions. The invalidity of old age known as jara is figuratively explained here as the daughter of Time. No one likes her, but she is very much anxious to accept anyone as her husband. No one likes to become old and invalid, but this is inevitable for everyone..."
My wife is gone this weekend to the Indiana gourd Show, about 6-7 hours from here, to sell her crafted gourds. We have been going to that show for more than 10 years. We have also been going to the Ohio Gourd Show for about 15 years. Over that time, we have become friends with a lot of other gourd crafters and raw gourd sellers who are regulars at the two shows. Even only seeing them twice a year, over time, a sort of community of gourders has developed. They are generally very nice people, more mode of goodness types, tend to be religious, no intoxication, all that. Even a few other vegetarians, and the gourd banquets they have usually have a vegetarian option. Salt of the earth types.
I don’t have the juice to go much anymore, so my wife has been going to Indiana alone for the last few years. We have a friend there who is a vegetarian so they set up next to each other and watch each other’s booths if one steps away for a while. There are lots of interesting things to see so they take turns during slow times looking around at the other booths. They also share a motel room to save on expenses. This makes my being there less necessary. I have still been going to the Ohio show, and the gourders know me, so they are aware of my condition.
Still, it was a bit of a surprise to my wife when she arrived at the show to set up, and one of our friends, Helen, came up to her and very compassionately said, “I am sorry to hear that Mark (that’s me) passed.” My wife was a little puzzled and said “What?” to which Helen replied, “He passed away.” Somehow, the rumor had started and gone all around that I had died.
My wife was quite amused by this, probably not the reaction most people would have expected. We do have a sort of running gag about dying, gallows humor as it is called, that may seem a little odd or even callous to others, and this fit right in. When I called her at the motel tonight, we had a good chuckle about it. I told her to tell people tomorrow the famous quote (the attribution escapes me at the moment), “Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.”