Friday, October 23, 2009

Essay: "Heaven and Naature." Edward Hoagland. 1988.

10-second review: Reflections on committing suicide. One man stands back from a subway train when it comes into the station because he is afraid of throwing himself under it, or pushing someone else in front of it. Another is afraid to have a gun in his house for protection for fear that some day he will shoot himself with it. “More than thirty thousand Americans took their own lives last year, men mostly, with the highest rate being among those older than sixty-five.”


“What are you so sick of? The rest of us keep going.”

“I’m tired of weathermen and sportscasters on the screen. Of being patient and also of impatience. I’m tired of the president, whoever the president happens to be, and sleeping badly…of breaking two eggs every morning and putting sugar on something. I’m tired of the drone of my own voice, but also of us jabbering like parrots at each other.”

“Death’s edge is so abrupt and near that many people who expect as short and momentary dive may be astounded to find that it is bottomless and change their minds and start to scream when they are only halfway down.”

“Nobody expects to trust his body overmuch after the age of fifty.”

“That close to retirement, some of them harbored a deep-seated contempt for the organizations they had been working for, ready to walk away from almost everybody they had known, and the efforts and expertise of whole decades with very little sentiment.”

“But because we live in our heads more than in nature nowadays, even the summer sky is a mine field for people whose memories are mined. With the sky no longer humbling, the sunshine only a sort of convenience, and no godhead located anywhere outside our own heads, every problem may seem insolubly interlocked.”

“Man is different from animals in that he speculates, a high-risk activity.”

Best American Essays of the Century. Editors: Oates and Atwan. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2000.

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