He was the last Dodo in the entire world, he was lonely, and he was old. In the interview, talk shows, New Yorker profile, these were the answers he returned to again and again. “Of course I might die,” he told them all, “I don’t plan on it but it might happen. Likely will, even. But that’s exactly why I want to do it.”
The headlines screamed ’suicide’ and ‘mental illness’ even before he had a chance to go on. “I’ve spent my life as the last of my kind. I’ve been a freak. Where is the dignity in being a living fossil? In having your picture in every textbook as a cautionary tale? So let me have this. Let me have the dignity of choosing how exactly my species will end. Let me try and climb this damn mountain.”
The public was divided on whether the dodo should be allowed to climb K2. But while Paul Krugman and Bill O’Reilly and all of the talking heads and hands of the nation discussed the ethics of it, he discussed the logistics of it with his financial planner, and early in September he just chartered a plane and took off for Africa.
Written in Fall 2014 for an old friend’s refrigerator.
004 The Last Dodo (Downloadable mp3 – right click the link and choose “Save Link As…”)