For the Latinatively challenged, that means “behind the rich guy sits black death.”
You know, when you’re young, you don’t think about death, because for the most part young people don’t die these days unless they do something stupid, and the whole point of being young is doing stupid things without considering the consequences, so there’s no harm in that. But as you approach middle age, it begins to occur to you that hey, youth was just the other day, and if middle age creeps up on you so quickly (hey, where did the last ten years go?), then old age isn’t far away, and shit, old people die. So Keyser’s been having intimations of mortality of late.
Death means different things to different people. Keyser wrote a will many years ago (courtesy of his obtrusive father), and in it the ex-Mrs. S. is the heir. The present Mrs. S. says a) no, Keyser is not going to die any time soon, and b) would he change the goddamned will already? Now, if you ask Keyser, a) should render b) void, and the insistence upon b) perhaps undercuts one’s faith in a), but whatever. (For what it’s worth, Keyser’s pretty sure that the current Mrs. S. has a presumptive claim over the old one, but let’s face it, ex hypothesi Keyser won’t be around to enjoy the Jarndice-like repercussions, now is he?)
Also, for reasons not worth going into, Mrs. S. has been reading up on ancient China, and she claims that the following story is true about an ancient Chinaman. Seems there was a historian named Sima Qian. (Through the absurdities of modern transliteration, that “q” supposedly represents a “ch” sound, so this guy has the same name as the famous movie detective Charlie Qian. Go figure.) Well, seems our friend Sima pissed off the emperor, who ordered him to be executed. Sima demurred on the grounds that he hadn’t finished his history yet. As it turned out, the emperor had pre-ordered it on amazon.ch, so he said, “Okay, Charlie, I’ll make you an offer. Either you get executed or if this book means so much to you, you can avoid execution through agreeing to be castrated.” Sweet Mary Who Begat Jesus Without the Intervention of Testicles, what a choice! Apparently, if it had been up to him, Sima would have preferred to lose his head rather than his balls, but for some reason, he owed the book to a vow he had given his father, so filial piety compelled him to take the Abelard route and lose two nards for two volumes. (The story isn’t in Wikipedia, but Mrs. S. assures Keyser that he says in a letter that thoughts of his obligation to dad kept him from offing himself to prevent the decajonization.)
Now, Keyser has three books that need finishing plus a really big project that needs doing, so even though he owes nothing to Keyser Sr. and does not face the choice of his nuts or his books, nonetheless, the thought that death may intervene and cut short (as it were) the completion of his books weighs heavily on his mind.
Keyser is creeping up on 50, which means that pretty soon he can qualify for some crappy life insurance they flog at old people, and that’s a depressing consideration. And to drum home the fact that death can strike anytime, not only did Michael Jackson die at 50 just the other day (to the discombobulation of the world, despite the fact that he had given up his own nose without getting any new songs in return) but this morning, that annoying with the loud voice who peddled OxiClean and OtherShit so loudly on cable networks was found dead – at 50!
Television pitchman Billy Mays — who built his fame by appearing on commercials and infomercials promoting household products and gadgets — died Sunday.
Mays, 50, was found unresponsive by his wife inside his Tampa, Fla., home at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Tampa Police Department.
Police said there were no signs of forced entry to Mays’ residence and foul play is not suspected. Authorities said an autopsy should be complete by Monday afternoon.
Well, whatever Mays have died of, fifty-year-olds are dropping like flies, so Keyser has to work even harder to get everything done. But you know, Keyser always starts at least one (and usually more) projects before completing the old ones, so when you get down to it, Keyser can never die, because there will always be something more that needs finishing first.
Laugh if you want, but Mrs. S. had a dream that should tell you something about Keyser’s determination. Seems that some kidnapper had invaded the house and was rounding up the family to take them hostage. Keyser replied that he didn’t have time for crap like that, as he was too busy with work. The would-be kidnapper took this amiss and began to saw Keyser in half with a slide rule (apparently being a technologically challenged malefactor).
Anywyay, let’s all devoutly hope that Keyser can keep both nards and books! So death, not only should you be not proud. You should go fuck yourself too. Keyser’s too busy for you!