A macabre yet uplifting discussion with a friend. Were Covid-19 to carry us off, we agree that we would be content with the range of experiences in our shortish lives. Neither man had considered the question before. Each was surprised at his own equanimity in the face of a hypothetical reaper.

I have a strong link with three continents; in North America, I am getting to know a fourth. I have lived in several social classes (more than I would have liked). In matters of the heart, I have not abstained. Through food, art, sport and travel, I have had enough sensory pleasure to know that financial advisers are wrong: it does leave you with an asset. The asset is a stock of memories. As for life’s rawer sensations, had I been bereaved in recent months, it would not have been my first rodeo.

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