Monday, January 22, 2007

I read the last column of Art Buchwald yesterday. I didn't read him very much when he was alive, but I was curious as to what a renowned, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist would write for his final farewell. He finished it a few months before his death, so he had time to think about it and to change it if it wasn't exactly right.

When I read it, I was surprised. Here was a man that others turned to--a leader--a thinker and yet his final sentence was, "What's it all about, Alfie?" Yes, that's right . . . the irritating question from the old 60s song. Buchwald summed up his whole life with one sentence from a song. The lyrics go like this:

What's it all about Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind Alfie,
then I guess it's wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong Alfie,
what will you lend on an old golden rule?

As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Alfie,
I know there's something much more,
something even non-believers can believe in.

I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you've missed you're nothing, Alfie.
When you walk let your heart lead the way
and you'll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.*

So what did Buchwald believe in? He didn't seem to know for sure . . . I guess it was love. But what kind of love?

And if we just exist without this love--wouldn't you need to know exactly what it was?

Somehow, I doubt it was the love of Jesus Christ.

How sad to end your life still wondering . . . .

*Lyrics by Hal David


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