||Martes 1 de Abril de 2008
|Mine is longer than yours
Por Michael Kinsley
At first, I thought I was alone in the pool. It was a sparkling blue gem, implausibly planted in the skyscraper canyon of downtown Los Angeles, as if David Hockney, heading toward Beverly Hills, had taken the wrong exit on the I-10 freeway. This fine pool was the consolation and only charm of the Soviet-style complex where I had rented an apartment so that I could walk to work at the Los Angeles Times. It was early, not even 6 A.M. I had finished my laps and was enjoying the emptiness of the pool, the faint sounds of downtown gearing up for the day, and the drama of the looming office towers. As we learned on September 11th, they really can fall down on top of you. But they wouldn’t on that day. I felt healthy and smug.
Then what I had thought was a ripple in the water turned out to be—no, not a shark with hectoring John Williams music pulsing from a boom box in its stomach. It was a tiny old man in a tiny black bathing suit. He was slowly, slowly completing a lap in the next lane. When, finally, he reached the side where I was resting and watching, he came up for air. He saw me, beamed, and said, “I’m ninety years old.” It was clearly a boast, not a lament, so I followed his script and said, “Well, isn’t that marvellous” and “You certainly don’t look it” and on in that vein. He beamed some more, I beamed, and briefly we both were happy—two nearly naked strangers sharing the first little dishonesties and self-deceptions of a beautiful day in Southern California.
Perhaps sensing some condescension in my praise, he then stuck out his chest and declared, “I used to be a judge.” And I started to resent this intruder on my morning and my pool. Did I now have to tell him it was marvellous that he used to be a judge? What was so marvellous about it? What was his point? But, even as he said this, a panicky realization of its absurd irrelevance seemed to pass across his face, and then a realization of its pathos. When he was a judge—if he had been a judge—he had not felt the need to accost strangers and tell them that he was a judge. And then he seemed to realize that he had overplayed his hand. He had left this stranger in the pool thinking the very thought he had wanted to dispel: the old fool is past it. And finally (I imagined, observing his face) came sadness: he had bungled a simple social interchange. So it must be true: he was past it.
On an airplane seven or eight years ago, I turned and discovered Robert McNamara in the next seat. He is ninety-one now, so he must have been more than eighty at the time. I asked him why he was going to Denver. He said that he was meeting a female friend at the airport and heading for Aspen. It seems that when his wife died he had commissioned in her memory one of a chain of primitive huts on a trail between Aspen and Vail. Now he was going to ski the trail and stay in the huts with his lady. He told me this, then beamed, like my friend in the pool.
Well, life is unfair, but let’s not get carried away. Longevity is not a zero-sum game. A longer life for Robert McNamara doesn’t mean a shorter life for you or me or the average citizen of Vietnam. He’s done that damage, and at his age he won’t be doing more. In fact, he seems to have been spending the gift of a long life trying to make amends—mainly, as he described his recent agenda to me, by flying around the world to conferences where the world’s suffering is deplored. Nevertheless.
Still, to get to that view of things, I had to suppress an irrational feeling that McNamara had won big in a game he shouldn’t have been entitled to play. Yes, life is unfair, and never more so than in how much of itself it gives to different people. Deaths of young adults are mourned with special pain, and the very, very old are celebrated. But any age between about sixty and ninety doesn’t rate a second glance as you flip through the obituaries. Anywhere in there is a normal life span, even though the ninety-year-old got fifty per cent more life.
What’s more, of all the gifts that life and luck can bestow—money, good looks, love, power—longevity is the one that people seem least reluctant to brag about. In fact, they routinely claim it as some sort of virtue—as if living to ninety were primarily the result of hard work or prayer, rather than good genes and never getting run over by a truck. Maybe the possibility that the truck is on your agenda for later this morning makes the bragging acceptable. The longevity game is one that really isn’t over till it’s over.
Between what your parents gave you to start with—genetically or culturally or financially—and pure luck, you play a small role in determining how long you live. And even if you add a few years through your own initiative, by doing all the right things in terms of diet, exercise, sleep, vitamins, and so on, why is that to your moral credit? Extending your own life expectancy is the most selfish motive imaginable for doing anything. Do it, by all means. I do. But for heaven’s sake don’t take a bow and expect applause.
This is the game that really counts. Perhaps you imagine that, as eternity approaches, the petty ambitions and rivalries of this life melt away. Perhaps they do. That doesn’t mean that the competition is over. It means that the biggest competition of all is about to start. Do you doubt it? Ask yourself: what do you have now, and what do you covet, that you would not gladly trade for, say, five extra years? These would be good years, of cross-country skiing between fashionable Colorado resorts, or at least years when you could still walk and think and read and drive. You would still be a player in whatever game you spent your life playing: still invited to faraway conferences about other people’s problems, if you ever were; still baking your famous chocolate-chip banana bread for the family if your life followed a less McNamarish course. What would you trade for that? Or, rather, what wouldn’t you trade? O.K., you’d give up years for the health and happiness of your children. What else? Peace in the Middle East? A solution to global warming? A cure for AIDS? These negotiations are secret, mind you. No one will know if you selfishly choose a few extra years for yourself over an extra million or two for Planet Earth. We’ll posit that you’re a good person, though, and that to spare the earth from a couple of the Four Horsemen you’d accept a shorter span for yourself.
Few people ever have the opportunity to make an explicit choice between years of life and some noble cause. Among those who do are soldiers. People who volunteer for military service or act bravely in battle consciously risk giving up most of their Biblically allotted threescore and ten, and for some this choice is both wise and generous beyond belief. Unfortunately, every war has at least two sides, and at most one of them is the good side. The math suggests that, in the course of history, most of these sacrifices probably were a mistake. Robert McNamara’s years equal those of four soldiers who died in Vietnam.
Anyway, back to you. Children, country, future of the world are off the table. And, yes, these are the important things. But there are other things that make life sweet. The baby-boom generation in America is thought to have found something approaching genuine happiness in material possessions. A popular bumper sticker back in the nineteen-eighties read, “He Who Dies with the Most Toys Wins.” This was thought to be a brilliant encapsulation of the baby-boom generation’s shallowness, greed, excessive competitiveness, and love of possessions. And it may well be all of these things. It’s also fundamentally wrong. Is there anything in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue—or even listed on Realtor.com—for which you would give up five years? Of course not. That sports car may be to die for, but in fact you wouldn’t. What good are the toys if you’re dead? “He Who Dies Last”—he’s the one who wins.
Boomers realize this, of course. Don’t forget: back in the Dark Ages, we invented jogging. (Our knees may now regret it.) Competitive consumerism wasn’t invented by boomers or yuppies. However, it is deeply rooted in yuppie culture. I win if my house is bigger than yours, or if my cell phone is smaller than yours. Or if my laptop computer is thinner or my hiking boots are thicker. And yet all this is meaningless, isn’t it? And I don’t mean that in a spiritual way. Be as greedy and self-centered as you want. The only competition that matters, in the end, is about life itself. And the standard is clear: “Mine is longer than yours.”
The oldest boomers, born in the late nineteen-forties, are just turning sixty, and the last boomer game is about to start—the game of competitive longevity. So how are you doing? Let’s say you’re sixty. To begin with, you’re still alive, which gives you a leg up. Or are the real winners in our youth-obsessed generation the boomers who died young, like John Belushi? Well, perhaps, but you’ve missed that boat. There may be glamour in dying in your early twenties. There is no glamour in dying in your late fifties.
In 2004, the most recent year for which there are final figures, life expectancy at birth in the United States was 77.8 years. That’s 75.2 years for males and 80.4 years for females. But if you’ve made it to sixty your life expectancy is 82.5 years: 80.8 for men and eighty-four for women. (In Katha Pollitt’s recent book of essays, “Learning to Drive,” there is a vicious one called “After the Men Are Dead.”)
Of course, these are only averages. Factors that you control, such as diet, exercise, and smoking, can affect your score. So can factors that are beyond your control but are already known or knowable, such as your family health history. What most affects your own outcome, though, is the simple fact that averages are only averages. Think of this as good news: for everyone who dies in his or her forties, there must be three or four who make it into their eighties in order for the averages to work out.
You might compare the coming boomer longevity competition to a tontine. This was a macabre form of investment, popular in Europe and America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in which the amount you got back depended on how many of your fellow-investors you outlived. Even without a cash prize, though, we all would like to win. Life would be pretty empty without your friends. But not as empty as death.
We are born thinking that we’ll live forever. Then death becomes an intermittent reality, as grandparents and parents die, and tragedy of some kind removes one or two from our own age cohort. And then, at some point, death becomes a normal part of life—a faint dirge in the background that gradually gets louder. What is that point? One crude measure would be when you can expect, on average, one person of roughly your age in your family or social circle to die every year. At that point, any given death can still be a terrible and unexpected blow, but the fact that people your age die is no longer a legitimate surprise, and the related fact that you will, too, is no longer avoidable.
With some heroic assumptions, we can come up with an age when death starts to be in-your-face. We will merge all sexual and racial categories into a single composite American. We will assume that there are a hundred people your age who are close enough to be invited to your funeral. Your funeral chapel won’t fit a hundred people? No problem. On average, half of them will be too busy decomposing to attend. As Max Beerbohm noted in his novel “Zuleika Dobson,” “Death cancels all engagements.” And why a hundred? Because it’s easy, and also because it’s two-thirds of “Dunbar’s number,” of a hundred and fifty, which is supposedly the most relationships that any one set of human neurons can handle. We’re crudely assuming that two-thirds of those are about your age.
Anyway, the answer is sixty-three. If a hundred Americans start the voyage of life together, on average one of them will have died by the time the group turns sixteen. At forty, their lives are half over: further life expectancy at age forty is 39.9. And at age sixty-three the group starts losing an average of one person every year. Then it accelerates. By age seventy-five, sixty-seven of the original hundred are left. By age one hundred, three remain.
The last boomer competition is not just about how long you live. It is also about how you die. This one is a “Mine is shorter than yours”: you want a death that is painless and quick. Even here there are choices. What is “quick”? You might prefer something instantaneous, like walking down Fifth Avenue and being hit by a flower pot that falls off an upper-story windowsill. Or, if you’re the orderly type, you might prefer a brisk but not sudden slide into oblivion. Take a couple of months, pain-free but weakening in some vague nineteenth-century way. You can use the time to make your farewells, plan your funeral, cut people out of your will, finish that fat nineteenth-century novel that you’ve been lugging around since the twentieth century, and generally tidy up.
The government statistics on how people die are lavish and fascinating. Let’s forget for a moment that it’s a catalogue you can’t really shop from. And yet you also can’t put it down and say “No, thanks” to the whole thing. So what’s your pleasure? Or should I say, “Choose your poison”? In 2004, five thousand eight hundred people did choose poison, and suicide in general—the only option that you actually can choose—ranked eleventh among causes of death, with thirty-two thousand people casting their votes for it. Half of these people used guns. About twenty-one thousand people died of poisoning classified as “accidental” in 2004. That’s almost half as many as died in car accidents. Accidents in general ranked fifth, with a hundred and twelve thousand out of a total of 2.4 million deaths.
The top three causes of death in 2004 were heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Together, they account for more than half of all deaths in the United States, so choosing among these three is a good way to avoid disappointment. But an informed choice isn’t easy. Heart disease runs the spectrum from a sudden fatal heart attack while opening Christmas presents with your grandchildren to years of bedridden decline. A stroke could be your best option (you’re gone in a few seconds) or among your worst (you’re alive for years but unable to move or talk). Nevertheless, among the big three, cancer is clearly the one to avoid. Although often these days people are cured of cancer, the topic here is what kills you, and our premise is that something is going to kill you eventually (a premise with considerable data to back it up). Cancer, if it kills you, is not likely to do so gracefully.
No. 14 on the government’s “best killer list” (as it is not called) is Parkinson’s disease. Of the 2.4 million who died of all causes in 2004, eighteen thousand died of Parkinson’s. This interested me, because I have Parkinson’s, and one of the first things you are told, at least if you are still middle-aged when you get the diagnosis (I was forty-two; now I’m fifty-seven), is that you are not likely to die of it. It turns out that people do die of it, but rarely before very old age, even if they got the diagnosis when fairly young. In 2004, Parkinson’s killed three hundred and forty-nine Americans between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-four. It killed sixty-six hundred from the much smaller group of Americans over the age of eighty-five. (This is encouraging: not only do most people with Parkinson’s not die of it but, even of those who do, more than a third make it past eighty-five.) Back in my own age group of fifty-five to sixty-four, Parkinson’s was surpassed by Alzheimer’s (542 and headed up, up, up), homicide (879 and headed down, down, down), “events of undetermined intent” (399), “accidental exposure to smoke, fire and flames” (412), asthma (520), diabetes (10,780), H.I.V. (1,562), and, of course, various forms of cancer and heart disease.
Parkinson’s is what happens when your brain stops producing enough dopamine. It has a strange collection of symptoms that are distributed somewhat randomly among its victims. Almost no one has all of them. Everyone has some. It is classified as a “movement disorder,” and it certainly is that, though the disorder can take the form of stiffness approaching paralysis or shaking and exaggerated movements approaching an epileptic fit. And there are other symptoms, unrelated to movement, such as insomnia, depression, and bad skin. Some people with Parkinson’s have trouble walking through open doorways. (You have to back up and give yourself a running start.) The drugs you take to alleviate the symptoms have symptoms of their own, ranging from involuntary movements of various sorts to (my favorite) a compulsion to gamble.
Even fifteen years after I got the diagnosis, my symptoms are on the mild side, though no longer undetectable. They got even milder after I had an operation, a couple of years ago, to implant wires in my brain and two pacemaker-type batteries in my chest. The batteries send pulses to a particular point in the brain that . . . well, I don’t really know much about how it works. But the result is that I take fewer pills than before and have much less “off” time, when the pills don’t work. The procedure, known as deep brain stimulation, or D.B.S., was approved for Parkinson’s six years ago and has been tried for other ailments as well, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even Tourette’s syndrome. For each disease, doctors go for a different spot in the brain. It’s almost like phrenology reinvented, with the important difference that D.B.S. works. My surgeon, Dr. Ali Rezai, of the Cleveland Clinic, is a renowned pioneer in deep brain stimulation and a great enthusiast. I have joked with him that if I came to the Cleveland Clinic complaining of athlete’s foot he’d know just the spot in my head where the wires should go.
During the operation, your head is screwed into a metal frame and the frame is screwed into the operating table. My surgery lasted nine hours, and for most of it I had to be awake, so that the doctors could test the connection, like asking somebody to go upstairs and see if the light in the bedroom comes back on while you fiddle with the circuit-breaker box in the basement. It’s not fun, but it doesn’t hurt (your brain has no nerve endings for pain), and everything except the operation itself is sort of fun. Immediately after surgery, all the symptoms of Parkinson’s disappear—even though the batteries aren’t turned on for a month. The very process of implanting the wires mimics the effect of the electricity from the batteries. Over the next two or three weeks, the symptoms return. Then, when the batteries are turned on, they disappear or are reduced again. These results are instantaneous, though they vary from patient to patient, and it takes up to a year of visits, every month or so, to get the adjustment right.
Along with the benefits, there are some minor nuisances. At the airport, I can’t go through the metal detector. Instead, I stand spread-eagled while the T.S.A. man feels me all over, using (he assures me) the back of his hand for “sensitive areas.” I am supposed to keep my distance from refrigerator doors—especially those big, heavy Sub-Zero refrigerator doors that virtually symbolize yuppie desire—because they use strong magnets to stay shut, and these can interfere with the batteries. I can usually get a rise out of my wife by walking innocently past our refrigerator and pretending to be sucked toward the doors and pinned against them. When I wanted some wireless earphones to use on the exercise machine, every brand I tried crackled with interference. I finally figured out why: my built-in antennae. This is all a small price to pay.
The future for people with Parkinson’s is unclear, but in a good way, because that future is getting better. New drugs are coming along all the time. The demographic power of the boomer generation, as it enters the Parkinson’s years, will spur more research and new therapies. And, of course, there is the promise of stem cells. John McCain has voted against President Bush’s near-ban on stem-cell research, so the ban is likely to be lifted whatever happens in November.
The lost years are maddening, especially since the opposition to stem-cell research, if it isn’t purely cynical, is based on a fundamental misunderstanding. The embryos used in stem-cell research come from fertility clinics, where it is standard procedure to create more embryos than are needed and to dispose of the extras. (For that matter, this is standard procedure in the method of human reproduction devised by God as well.) Thousands of embryos live and die this way every year, and there is no fuss. President Bush even praised the work of fertility clinics in his speech announcing the restrictions on stem-cell research. You cannot logically be against stem-cell research on the ground that it encourages what happens in fertility clinics, and yet be in favor of, or indifferent to, fertility clinics themselves. And yet for seven years that has been my country’s official position.
Even when the ban is lifted, stem-cell research is unlikely to develop fast enough to bail me out. Factoring in other new treatments, I figure that my chance of being alive at eighty is about as good as that of any other fifty-seven-year-old American male. That chance is almost exactly fifty-fifty. And I’m more likely to be felled by a heart attack, just like my boomer buddies, than by Parkinson’s. On the other hand, the chance that I’ll be cross-country skiing in my eighties is small. Not that I ever did much cross-country skiing. (One incidental benefit of Parkinson’s has been regular opportunities to ring changes on that old joke “Doctor, doctor, will I be able to play the piano?”) When it comes to having the tiniest telephone or the biggest refrigerator, I’m still in the game. But when it comes to the ultimate boomer game, competitive longevity, I’m doing color commentary. This is not because I’m more likely to keel over early but because having a chronic disease—or, more to the point, being known to have a chronic disease—automatically starts you on your expulsion from the club of the living.
Sometimes I feel like a scout from my generation, sent out ahead to experience in my fifties what even the healthiest boomers are going to experience in their sixties, seventies, or eighties. There are far worse medical conditions than Parkinson’s and there are far worse cases of Parkinson’s than mine. But what I have, at the level I have it, is an interesting foretaste of our shared future—a beginner’s guide to old age.
Many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease resemble those of aging: a trembling hand, a shuffling gait, swallowing—or forgetting to swallow, or having trouble swallowing—a bewildering variety of pills. Of the half-dozen or so main Parkinson’s drugs, the most effective by far goes by the trade name Sinemet. Its principal ingredient is levodopa, a chemical that turns into dopamine in the brain. Levodopa works differently for different people, and often stops working or develops intolerable side effects. But for me right now Sinemet’s effects last about four hours. During those four hours, I go through the whole cycle of life, or, at least, the adult part. I take a pill and shortly feel as if I am twenty. My mood is sunny and optimistic, I move fluidly, I’m full of energy—I don’t know whether to go out and run a couple of miles or finish that overdue book review. This feeling lasts for a couple of hours, then it starts to wear off. Another half hour, maybe, and I’m back where I belong, in middle age. Half an hour after that, I’m feeling old, stiff, tired, and gloomy. Then I pop another pill and the cycle starts all over.
I was around fifty when I went public about having Parkinson’s, and the effect was like turning sixty. A person who is sixty and healthy almost surely will live many more years. But sixty is about the age when people stop being surprised if you look old or feel sick or drop dead. (It’s another decade or so before they stop pretending to be surprised.) It’s often said of people that “she’s a young seventy” or “he’s thirty, going on forty-five.” And it’s true: there is your actual, chronological age, and then there’s the age that reflects how you look, how you feel, how much hair you have left, how fast you can walk, or think, and so on. At every stage of life, some people seem older or younger than others of the same age. But only in life’s last chapter do the differences get enormous. We are not shocked to see a seventy-one-year-old hobbling on a cane, or bedridden in a nursing home, and we are not shocked to see a seventy-one-year-old running for President. The huge variety of possible outcomes—all of them falling within the range considered “normal”—makes the last boomer competition especially dramatic. So does the speed at which aging can happen. Sometimes it’s even instantaneous. Fall, break your hip, and add ten years. Do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars. It’s easy to imagine two sixty-year-olds, friends all their lives. One looks older because he’s bald: no big deal. Ten years later, when they’re seventy, one has retired on disability and moved into a nursing home. The other is still C.E.O., has left his wife for a younger woman, and, in a concession to age, takes a month off each year to ski. Contrasts like these will be common.
About thirty-six Americans out of a thousand over the age of sixty-five are residents of nursing homes, and for those over eighty-five the figure is a hundred and thirty-nine out of a thousand. The odds look reassuring—even among the very-oldsters, it’s only one out of seven. Trouble is, just being out of a nursing home doesn’t necessarily put you in a Mrs. McNamara Memorial Love Shack. Actual nursing homes are just the penultimate stop along a trail of institutions that boomers have become familiar with—and try not to think about—in dealing with our parents. It starts with so-called “independent living,” and runs through “assisted living” to the nursing home, with possible detours through “home health care” and “rehab,” and thence to the hospital and points beyond. One admirable goal of these institutions is to ease the inevitable transition from active, contributing citizen to dependent, living off the financial and emotional acorns stored over a lifetime. But these institutions also announce the transition and push people along. Entering one of these places is entering a new phase of life as clearly as going away to college.
Decades before the nursing home, though, we all cross an invisible line. Most people realize this only in retrospect. If you have a chronic disease—even one that is slow-moving and non-fatal—you cross the line the moment you get the diagnosis. Suddenly, the future seems finite. There are still doors you can go through and opportunities you can seize. But every choice of this sort closes off other choices, or seems to, in a way that it didn’t use to. In every major decision—buying a house or a car, switching your subscription from Newsweek to Time—you feel that this is the last roll of the dice. It needn’t be this way: in the fifteen years since Parkinson’s was diagnosed, I’ve moved half a dozen times, changed jobs about as often, got married, let my New Yorker subscription lapse and then renewed it. Each change feels like an unexpected gift, or a coupon you’d better redeem before it expires.
This terror of being written off prematurely (like being buried alive) makes it difficult to write about a medical condition that may linger and get worse slowly for decades while you try to go about your life like a normal person. People say, in all kindness, “Hey, you look terrific,” which leaves you wondering what they were expecting, or how you looked the last time you saw them. They seem taken aback that you are around at all. The first time you hear or read a casual reference to “healthy persons,” it is a shock to realize that you are permanently disqualified for that label. And then you realize—even more shockingly—that you’re the only one who’s shocked. Everyone else has adjusted, reassigned you, and moved on. Even if you feel fine, you walk around in an aura of illness.
People with Parkinson’s often develop a blank, unblinking stare known as “facial masking.” They also tend to mumble. If you know someone who has Parkinson’s, symptoms like these can lead you to think that he’s losing his wits. Cognitive problems affect a minority of Parkinson’s victims, primarily those who get the disease late in life. Some researchers believe that “young onset” Parkinson’s, meaning before the age of fifty, may be an entirely different disease. But, of course, you can’t count on everybody you meet in a day being totally up to speed on the latest research. The familiar dream that you are in the middle of an exam you haven’t prepared for has some basis in reality for a person with Parkinson’s, just as it must be for many people in their seventies and for almost all those in their eighties. Twelve years ago, I was described in this magazine as having “a languid, professorial air . . . his arms stiffly by his side; his eyes seem stretched open, for he seldom blinks, and [he] speaks slowly, deliberately, quietly [with] parsimonious gestures.” Since I’ve gone public, no one has suggested that these symptoms add up to looking “professorial.”
For a yuppie careerist, the first painful recognition that you have crossed the invisible line probably comes at work. You’ve done fine, but guess what? You will not be chairman of the company, or editor of the newspaper, or president of the university. It’s mathematically inevitable that for every C.E.O. there will be half a dozen vice-presidents whose careers will seem successful enough to everybody but themselves. Nevertheless, to them this realization is poignant. For someone with a chronic disease, it’s slightly different. It’s not that the arc of your career never quite reached the apogee that you hoped for. It’s that the arc was unexpectedly chopped off. (Why that should seem more unfair, I cannot say. But it does.) For most people, the realization comes when somebody younger than you gets a job that you covet. For the person with a chronic disease, it’s when somebody older than you gets it. You’re over. He’s still a player. He wins.
Timing is everything. Last year, Chief Justice John Roberts had the second of what appeared to be epileptic seizures. The first had occurred fourteen years earlier. No one even suggested that he should have to resign from the Court. But do you think President Bush would have nominated Roberts if the second seizure had already occurred? Unlikely. Why risk it?
It is a treasured corollary of the American Dream that most people who are successful in midlife were losers in high school. As you enter adult life, values change and the deck is reshuffled. You get another chance, and maybe, if you’re lucky, the last laugh. But it isn’t the last laugh. The deck is shuffled again as you enter the last chapter. How long you live, how fast you age, whether you win or lose the cancer sweepstakes or the Parkinson’s bingo—all these have little to do with the factors that determined your success or failure in the previous round. And there is justice in that.
Some people win both rounds, or even all three. But they, too, cross that invisible line at some point. Old soldiers aren’t the only ones who just fade away. Where is Robert McNamara these days, anyway?
|| Abril de 2008. The New Yorker.