Monday, November 2, 2009

Shaw, Icarus and Keith Richards

I am reminded by today's Writer's Almanac that George Bernard Shaw died on this day in 1950. He was 94, too old to be climbing trees, but that's what he was doing. Not whimsically or playfully. He died of injuries after falling out of the tree he was pruning.

Which makes me think of Keith Richards who fell out of a palm tree while vacationing in Fiji in 2006. Richards survived, and he continues to defy the actuaries' predictions about his lifespan. Based upon his smoking and drinking and carrying on they had arrived at a life expectancy of 52. He is now pushing 66. I doubt he will rival George Bernard Shaw, though, who was a teetotaler, vegetarian and a bit obsessive about physical fitness. I am sure pruning a tree seemed a sensible thing to do at the time. Mr. Richards and Mr. Shaw appear several times each in A Book of Ages.

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