Einer der liebenswürdigsten amerikanischen Satiriker, Art Buchwald, dessen Kolumne ich seit Jahrzehnten gerne lese und den ich genauso gerne mit Mark Twain vergleiche, hat einen schönen Essay über seine Genesung geschrieben. Ich hätte den Text vielleicht übersetzen sollen, aber sein English ist so fein. Einige Fragmente:
Heaven Can WaitDas erinnert mich ein wenig an den Roman "Die Glocken von Bicêtre" von Georges Simenon, mutatis mutandis. :-)
Even though I'm in a hospice, I'm not going to Heaven immediately. [...]
For those who have been wondering what this is all about, it has to do with the fact that my kidneys weren't working and I didn't want to take dialysis, which is a machine you are attached to three times a week for five hours.
In February I was warned that if I didn't take dialysis I wouldn't survive more than two or three weeks.
Since I didn't want dialysis, I decided to move into a hospice and go quietly into the night.
For reasons that even the doctors can't explain, my kidneys kept working, and what started out as a three-week deathwatch has turned into nearly four months.
When word got out that I was in a hospice, I became a celebrity. I was on all the TV shows and the notice of my intentions was in all the papers, including The Washington Post and the New York Times, which made it valid.
Then the mail poured in. People were pleased that I had made my own choice. The letters and e-mails were in the thousands.
At the same time, friends came to the hospice to say goodbye. Everybody felt they should make the pilgrimage. They came with flowers, cheesecake and corned beef sandwiches.
I sat in the salon of the hospice and, pretty soon, when people came to see me, it was as if they were visiting Lourdes. They came to be blessed and cured.
Since I was expected to die soon, the French ambassador gave me the literary equivalent of the Legion of Honor. Because of the publicity I've gotten, the National Hospice Association made me man of the year.
I never realized dying was so much fun.
Then a few weeks ago, my doctor said I had to change course. [...]
Things I didn't care about because I was going to die, I now had to care about. This included shaving in the morning, buying a new cellphone that works, rewriting my living will and scrapping all the plans for my funeral. I also had to start worrying about Bush again.
Alas, the people who come to visit me now look at me with great suspicion. They want to know if the whole thing was a scam. They can't believe, after I said goodbye, I'm going to Martha's Vineyard instead of Paradise.
I called up the TV stations and the newspapers and asked them if they would make a correction and retract the original story. They said they never correct stories about people who claimed they were dying and didn't.
This is where I am now. I'm writing a book called, "Standby in Heaven: The Man Who Wouldn't Die."
I'm still seeing friends, but instead of saying farewell we discuss the Redskins.
So, dear reader, I hope you don't feel you were duped. The moral of this column is: Never trust your kidneys.