This will be embarrassing, but at least it will be short.
The ancient Greeks looked down on anyone who was guilty of false modesty; they felt that if you were a superior person, you should flaunt it. But this ancient Jew feels the opposite, that his modesty is well deserved and any suggestion to the contrary normally makes him cringe. He’s the kind of guy who when a compliment is bestowed upon him looks over his shoulder to see who the intended recipient actually is.
All right, you can see where this is leading. Yes, I am going to devote this essay to some good things that have come my way lately, at least in regard to my professional work. My body is another story; it is always something that continues to need work as it is continuing to decay at a vertiginous rate. But you have heard me sing that plaint before and don’t need to listen to the mournful tune again. Instead, let me turn to some of the things that have made me forget my body for a while and have even cheered me up. They have made waiting to die worth the waiting, for now I’m glad my number hasn’t been called just yet.
And, by the way, in case you’re wondering about the title of this essay, it refers to the fact that I am writing it just as I have reached the venerable age of 82 and a half.
First, some necessary background. In 1981, two friends and I established the first professional organization to foster research on near-death experiences (NDEs) and to provide support services for those who had had such experiences. I named...