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RICHLER, Mordecai



Barney’s version

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I don't hold with shamans, witch doctors, or psychiatrists. Shakespeare, Tolstoy, or even Dickens, understood more about the human condition than ever occurred to any of you. You overrated bunch of charlatans deal with the grammar of human problems, and the writers I've mentioned with the essence.

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But I hate being a grandfather. It's indecent. In my mind's eye, I'm still twenty-five. Thirty-three max. Certainly not sixty-seven, reeking of decay and dashed hopes. My breath sour. My limbs in dire need of a lube job. And now that I've been blessed with a plastic hip-socket replacement, I'm no longer even biodegradable. Environmentalists will protest my burial.

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One final thought. In the years leading up to my trial, whenever I was caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway leading to my cottage, creeping along behind a battered, rust eaten pick-up truck with a sticker on its rear bumper that read JESUS SAVES, I used to think don't count on it, buster. Now I am no longer sure.

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In those olden times you didn't have to be a space scientist to manage the gadget that flicked your TV on and off... Doctors made house calls. Rabbis were guys. Kids were raised by their moms instead of in child-care pens like piglets. Software meant haberdashery. There wasn't a different dentist for gums, molars, fillings and extractions - one nerd managed the lot. If a waiter spilled hot soup on your date, the manager offered to pay her cleaning bill and sent over drinks, and she didn't sue for a kazillion dollars, claiming "loss of enjoyment of life.

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