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“At nearly 80, with a scattering of medical and surgical problems, none disabling, I feel glad to be alive—‘I’m glad I’m not dead!’ sometimes bursts out of me when the weather is perfect. (This is in contrast to a story I heard from a friend who, walking with Samuel Beckett in Paris on a perfect spring morning, said to him, ‘Doesn’t a day like this make you glad to be alive?’ to which Beckett answered, ‘I wouldn’t go as far as that.’)”

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source: “The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.)” New York Times, July 6, 2013.

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medium: Newspaper essay

“My gratitude to you is boundless and if you think I have done any good here, imagine how it looked from this end as you donated $2 million to the National Association of Free Clinics and my dying father watched from his hospital bed, transcendentally comforted that his struggles were inspiring such overwhelming good for people he and I and you would never meet, but would always know. This may be the only television program wherein the host was much more in awe of the audience than vice-versa.”

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source: goodbye to his audience in the last broadcast of Countdown, MSNBC, January 21, 2011.

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medium: cable television news

notes: read the transcript here

“I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received.”

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source: Voices: Aphorisms, selected and translated by W. S. Merwin (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988), 23.

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medium: aphorism

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