Pine Nuts: Whoever said bein’ dead ain’t fun? |

Pine Nuts: Whoever said bein’ dead ain’t fun?

McAvoy Layne

Having been dead for a century now, it is nothing to me. I’m getting used to it.

There’s much to be said for portraying Mark Twain. Half my split personality has been dead for a hundred years, while the other half has been pretending to be 70 years old for so long now, 25 years, that when I recently arrived at that 70th Avenue train station myself, I was no stranger.

I would encourage educators and thespians alike to portray a person they admire. One life is not enough. To portray Mark Twain you need not be white nor male, though you do need three indispensable things, a good memory, a humorous outlook on life, and a super-healthy ego.

I’m hoping for a mentee to come happening along, someone I can help avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made along the way.

Sam Clemens has inoculated me against any fear of death. I first comprehended this fact while choking on a turkey bone one evening that lodged in my throat while I was home alone watching football on TV.

When it occurred to me that I might be about to depart this earthly realm I started for the front door so as not to be discovered days hence the size of a Macy’s Day Float.

While passing the television on my way outdoors I paused long enough to catch the score of the game. If I was going to hell, I was not going to arrive there without some interesting sports news. As it happened, the reports of my death were greatly exaggerated.

When you portray a person who led a very full life, and you’ve led a fairly full life yourself, you’re holding two aces while playing with house money. Nothing could be finer.

However there is one caveat. As Mr. Clemens pointed out, “Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with.” It’s essential that you find a mate who can love the both of youse.

Secretly, I suspect I’m going to fall victim to a self-inflicted heart attack that will render me dead as a smelt before I hit the stage floor.

I rue the day, but am ready as can be, and can actually visualize it in my mind’s eye.

I’ll be on a small dimly lit stage in the white suit when I get that telltale tap on the shoulder, and will mutter something lame to myself like, “Take me now, Lord, for I have seen it all.”

And then those dedicated lads from the morgue will haul me out of there in wonder at the cheap cigar still burning between my fingers.

At any rate, for what it’s worth, I’m dedicating the remainder of my days to being cheerful and helpful. If I swear, I will confine it to myself, and whenever possible I will dedicate my energy and resources to those who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.

Life is never consistently fair, so we smile a thin smile, do the best we can with the hand we’re dealt, and try to remember that there are times when the ten takes the ace…

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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