Some of us have stuck with the same site name for a long time. (In twenty-two years, I've only had two, though The Vent is largely unchanged after all these years.) Others have vanished for a while, then resurfaced with another name after a decent interval.

"Blog d'Elisson" goes back a long way. Eventually, Elisson [Steve Krodman] decided on "Lost in the Cheese Aisle," and it endured — until the moment when it couldn't anymore:

When I decided to start this blog — my third! — I had to select an appropriate name for it. I decided on the one you see above, but several others were under consideration:

ALS well that ends well — Well, there's only one way this ends — and it ain't too good.

The Gehrig Chronicles — Lou Gehrig is the name Americans most often associate with ALS. But these are my chronicles, not his.

The Lame Duck Diaries — The term "lame duck" refers to someone who is still in office but whose successor has already been selected. You're still around, but you can't accomplish much.

Thus, the new name:

Header for The Concentrated Mind blog by Steve Krodman

Unsentimentally, he says:

Here's what you need to know about ALS: It is incurable, and it is inevitably fatal. The only question is how long it takes to kill you.

Once in a while you'll hear about an outlier: someone on the far side of the survival curve. Stephen Hawking was one such person, having lived over 40 years after being diagnosed. His was an unusual case, and he put up with a lot of quality-of-life impairment to get there. As for myself, I'm not going to be walking the planet 40 years from now. Of course, that's no big surprise, given that I am 65 today.

Here, Elisson seems to be channeling the late Christopher Hitchens:

Friends and relatives, obviously, don't really have the option of not making kind inquiries. One way of trying to put them at their ease is to be as candid as possible and not to adopt any sort of euphemism or denial. The swiftest way of doing this is to note that the thing about Stage Four is that there is no such thing as Stage Five.

Lou Gehrig had no idea that his speech at Yankee Stadium in 1939 would transform him into the Stuff of Legend, the subject of a motion picture (The Pride of the Yankees, 1942), and a cultural merker thereafter; so far as he knew, he was just a guy who played first base. It's that everyman quality that led me to work a Gehrig reference into a novella set in the My Little Pony universe:

"Lou Gehrig," a comedian once joked, "actually died of Lou Gehrig's disease. Now what are the chances of that?"

I suppose you had to be there. But it occurred to me the next morning, while I was thinking up excuses not to get out of bed, that some fairly unlikely things had been happening to me of late, things I wouldn't have dared to predict a couple of months ago. That space/time discontinuity, or whatever it was, could have opened up a path to just about any place in the universe. Or it may have been there all along, waiting for someone — make that somepony — to pass through. I'd never have known. It never would have occurred to me that the fabled land of Equestria was something more than just a clever idea by some talented people, a premise on which stories could be based, a pretext to sell toys to youngsters — and, yes, I admit it, occasionally to me. And the idea that Twilight Sparkle, of all ponies, should find that portal, step through it, and find me at the other end? What are the chances of that? With apologies to the late Mr. Gehrig, I consider myself the second-luckiest man on the face of the earth.

And then I realized that by not getting out of bed and running the errands early, I had sentenced myself to an afternoon in the blistering summer heat. Okay, third-luckiest.

And now, at sixty-four, I have outlived both Lou Gehrig and Christopher Hitchens. I am forced to consider that my own number will be up soon. I figure the best I can hope for is to go out with my dignity and my sense of humor unimpaired. Fortunately, I have role models like The Man Who Was Elisson.

The Vent

  8 July 2018

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