NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 26, 2013

Idle thoughts while waiting for the (electric) man

“... and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

— John Donne

My government wants its money. Having turned 70 1/2 in August, I’ve had to sort through various options for taking the “required distribution” from my IRA account so that the tax dollars I saved by funding it can be claimed by their rightful owner. Maybe the Obama administration can use the money to fix the Obamacare website that it had three years to test, that it’s going to tax/fee people for not being able to use.

I was able to navigate the Social Security and Medicare systems when I reached those government-relevant ages, so my aging mind can still do paperwork. None of this made me feel old.

But today, there was an interesting reminder of mortality in my typically overflowing snailmail box. I recall getting advertising for baby products when my son was born and senior citizen stuff when I hit 55, but somehow didn’t expect to get a letter from the Solimine Funeral Homes when I reached God’s waiting room at roughly 70 2/3. They asked what kind of burial I would choose for myself, and have I updated my biographical information? (presumably for the obituary).

Actually, I wrote my obituary column for this newspaper awhile ago, so you can look forward to reading it someday if you are not yet yourself in your preordered casket.

Just in case I die before next week, let me get a few things off my chest in this column.

Right at the top: The fact that I just spent this entire beautiful fall afternoon at home waiting for National Grid to keep its noon to 6 p.m. appointment. It is now 6:22 p.m., so I assume they’re not coming.

National Grid recently sent me a second “IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE regarding your natural gas service. FAILURE TO RESPOND MAY RESULT IN INTERRUPTION OF YOUR SERVICE.”

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