I Am Tired Of These Constant Near-Death ExperiencesCommentary • human interest • death • ISSUE 35•37 • Oct 13, 1999 By T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911) Last night, as I so often do during my sleep, I dreamt of the lithe-limbed and frustratingly over-corseted Sophie Tucker. But midway through the dream, without warning, the lady-actress' enchanting features changed to the stern visage of German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck! The shock and consternation I felt at this trans-formation, combined with the zaftig quality of the Iron Chancellor's suddenly liberated bosoms, were more than enough to cause my calcified heart to seize for the 34th time this year. Within moments, I was watching myself from an over-head view-point, observing my chirurgeons as they attempted to wake me with electric shocks, harsh language and voluminous transfusions of infant's blood. Why must this happen to me so often? Yes, I am 132 years old, and the flesh in which I am imprisoned is prone to failure. But God damn it! I am a great plutocrat and the publisher of the Republic's finest news-paper! I do not wish to constantly find myself floating down a dark tunnel toward a great menacing white light! Yet that is exactly what happened. I felt a great sense of comfort overwhelm me. But this quickly gave way to an overwhelming feeling of rage as I approached the light, for I knew what came next: the roll-call of those I sent to their reward! There floating before me was P. Oliver Gummidge, the cinder-block with which I dispatched him still lodged in his brain-pan! There was Y. Josiah Zweibel, my stillborn twin brother, who in my foetus-hood I choked with our shared umbicilus! There was President McKinley, perforated with the assassin's bullets that no-one to this day has traced to me! And behind them a throng of my victims stretching as far as the eye could see: Irish rail-way laborers, Flemish comfort-women, dozens of Onion copy-boys, some contentious alder-men and several dozen failed fighting-cocks! The nerve of these ghastly hoo-doo spirits! I relieved these stupid chattels of life because they failed me. Must I deal with them in death? Fortunately, Doc McGillicuddy irrigated my colon with a gallon of laudanum-tincture, startling me back to this world before I could confront the hideous light. I fear it might be a ghostly manifestation of the Interstate Commerce Commission, waiting to prosecute me for my hundreds of violations of the Mann Act, so for now, it is better to live.