R.I.P. David Rakoff

August 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Via The Awl, sad to learn of the untimely passing of essayist and This American Life contributor David Rakoff, known for his collections Fraud (2001), Don’t Get Too Comfortable (2005), and Half Empty (2010).

His essay in the New York Times Magazine from April 15, 2011, which told of his experience being treated for the sarcoma that claimed his life, was a glittering example of the dark humor in which he specialized:

“Have a fantastic day,” the technician said as I left.

“Fantastic”? Fantastic days are what you wish upon those who have so few sunrises left, those whose lungs are so lesion-spangled with new cancer that they should be embracing as much life as they can. Time’s a-wasting, go out and have yourself a fantastic day!

Fantastic days are for goners. Was I fated to take some final vacation to see Venice for the first and last time? Or should I corral some long-cherished idol (I’m talkin’ to you, Meryl Streep) into posing for a photograph with me, both of us giving a thumbs up to the camera before she beats a hasty retreat back to the Land of the Living? That kind of fantastic day?

The podcast for “Stiff as a Board, Light as a Feather,” from the TAL live show in May, can be found here.

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