THE BLOG
03/25/2016 12:59 pm ET Updated Mar 26, 2017

How to Live Forever Even if You Die Young

People are dying too damned young. All this talk of the new longevity falls apart when comedian Gary Shandling dies in his 60s and Ken Howard -- a fine actor -- dies in his 70s. When I was quite young my mother once told me that the way to live a good life was to believe that you would live forever and at the same time know that you could die tomorrow. A total contradiction and yet it made sense to me. I think she meant that one should enjoy the moment but that one was responsible for ones own life and actions and there were consequences to bad acts -- and although there might be time to repair relationships don't count on it. She was killed in an accident -- run down by a car in Manhattan as she was delivering a meal to a poor, bedridden woman -- but still she lived a charmed life -- decency for her was not a choice but as natural as breathing. Who is as fortunate as those who don't have to ponder about doing good but do it automatically? Since she was a person who did not judge others (my father's family was the great exception) and had no sense that her race, her beauty, or middle class prosperity made her superior to anyone else, she wore her virtue lightly, to keep off the chill but never to oppress others. Still, how this woman who voted for FDR while I was still in utero would have recoiled at a Trump or a Cruz -- they would have been a challenge to her desire not to judge -- she would have wondered how they could live with their own shameful words which are precursors to shameful deeds. And so do I. She was right about one thing. She has lived forever for me, and will be alive in her grandsons and great grand-daughters long after I have passed from the scene. .