Last night I had the pleasure of watching an old TV interview of Orson Welles on The Dick Cavett Show. It was on the Decades channel; yet another oldies TV station, playing to an aging population.
Orson Welles was awesome, a shadow from an age when there was more honesty on television. He sat comfortably, puffing on his cigar and spinning one story after another. It was obvious that he was a born showman. He simply could not turn it off. The same way some salespeople are; or the greed of the excessively rich. Even the way he let the cigar smoke roll out of his mouth as he spoke was calculated for affect. And, when telling a story, he had that playful look in his eye that a grandfather might have. The one that said that he knew that you knew half of his story was a lie, but he wasn’t going to tell you which half and you didn’t really care so long as it was fun and interesting.
Similarly, however, there was a look in his eye that also spoke of how serious he was; on the two small occasions he was being serious. The first was a comment about how he felt too many people were getting married. He said it was a shame there were so few confirmed bachelors anymore. (Today, a heterosexual man who is happily single is thought to be a myth; like a unicorn. “If a man thinks he’s a woman, that’s alright. But, if a heterosexual man is happy being single… he’s got serious issues.”) The other moment was when he stated that he was absolutely against suicide, except for on one occasion; when the illness of the person risks the financial well being of the family. Not only did he think it was acceptable to commit suicide to protect the family from ruin, he thought it was a decent person’s obligation. This was where his eye turned downright venomous as he cursed the doctors and hospitals for taking advantage of vulnerable people. For certainly the family will not make that choice, and unless the patient does, the health care industry will ride that wave as far as it will go. Take that choice away from a person, and we are all slaves in the end. And this was back in the seventies.
Today, we are well aware of the healthcare industry being an extortion racket, run by well organized and institutionalized crime syndicates. And I have always held that if we humans are going to find and maintain balance with our ecosystems on this planet, we are going to have to learn how to accept death as a part of the life cycle. The harder we fight against death, the worse our world will become; and the closer to extinction we will get. Not that anyone should make such a choice for other people, but I think we need to start teaching people that they need to be responsible for more than just themselves and plan for the time when they might need to meet that obligation. No different from planning for retirement, and no different from a soldier choosing to sacrifice themselves for their mates, and for their country.
Alright… my little ramble is over.
Enjoy the day!!