Memento mori, Part I
Julia Reiskind, a friend of ours, died a few days ago.
Memento Mori, for death is coming for all of us.
Bobbi told someone at Goucher College, their alma mater, that Julie had died. Today she (Bobbi, not Julie) got a call from someone from Goucher who wanted to know some details—like the date that Julia died. Perhaps this woman didn’t realize she could get answers from the internet by typing something like “Julia Reiskind Obituary” in her browser like I ended up doing. I found Julie’s obituary.
I decided to start work on my obituary because I’m not dead yet, and I can.
So here’s the first installment, following Julie’s as a template.
There’s more to come.
WOLF, MICHAEL BEAU
Michael Beau Wolf, 77+, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend, isn’t dead yet, but one of these days he will have—
passed on! Become no more! Ceased to be! Expired and gone to meet his maker! Become a stiff! Bereft of life! He will rest in peace! He’ll be pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes will have become history! He will be off the twig! Kicked the bucket! Shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the fucking choir invisible!! HE WILL HAVE BECOME AN EX-WOLF.
Glad we’ve got that out of the way.
Michael Beau Wolf was born at (or possibly in) Unity Hospital in Brooklyn, NY on December 30, 1942, just in time to earn a full year’s dependent child income tax deduction for his mother, Edith Judith “Sister” (Gaines) Wolf, and his reputed father, Milton Arthur “Menasha Alta” Wolf.
(Fun fact: His brother, Mark Jay Wolf, was born on January 1, 1945, and missed the window. He eventually overcame this poor start.)
According to family legend, here’s how Michael Beau got his middle name (Beau, for those not paying attention): His mother thought he was beautiful and wanted to name him Michael Beautiful Wolf. His father thought better of it and Beau was the compromise. “Beau” caused Michael embarrassment in grade school, but standards have changed, and he grew to like it, and now the name is worn (proudly, I hope) by his grandson, Lucas Beau Greenland.
Anyway, that’s the story, true or not.
Michael has not grown up and likely won’t. But he started to grow up on Crown Street in Flatbush, Brooklyn, continued on E. 55th Street in Brooklyn, then on Madison Avenue, in Baldwin, NY, graduating from Baldwin Jr/Sr High School in 1960.
Two of the three colleges he applied to rejected him. Fortunately, MIT took him, and he has a flashbulb memory of sitting in a plane flying up to Boston for rush week and realizing that he did not understand how planes could fly. He resolved to do something about that, and if being able to describe the Bernoulli effect constitutes doing something, he did.
He was pledged by Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and spent at least his first several years at 530 Beacon Street, where he learned to drink and chase women, in that order because he was initially too shy to chase women when not drunk.
After he chased enough, he was no longer chaste, and stopped getting drunk.
He completed requirements for an SB in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964.
Fun fact; MIT doesn’t give a “Bachelor of Arts” (BA) degree, but instead provides a “Bachelor of Science.” MIT calls it an “SB” rather than a “BS” degree like many other schools because MIT is a no BS school, I guess.
Michael completed his degree work in 7 semesters rather than eight. By the end of his junior year he was sick of school and went off and joined the circus. Literally. He lasted about two days. He left the circus, went back to school, and completed his last two semesters in one., He did it by cramming for three days to take two exams that gave him the credits he needed to graduated. One of the courses was called “Differential Geometry.” Michael has no fucking idea what the other was called, but thinks it was something about topology. Michael has no fucking idea what differential geometry is for, other than getting out of MIT with a degree.
Fun fact: For years he thought he was very smart for being able to pass two MIT courses in three days. Now he thinks he’s more like an idiot for wasting the opportunity.
So much dumbness, masquerading as smartness.
After completing his course requirements, he fled to the University of Hawaii to avoid being drafted and sent to VietNam. He also went to hang out with his brother, and to take the courses he needed to apply to medical school to become a psychiatrist, which career-wise was as far away from MIT as he could get.
He dropped out of the University of Hawaii in his second semester to avoid failing out.
He’d also decided he’d be a shitty psychiatrist.
Other stuff happened, but this has gone on long enough. So I’ll wrap it up in the more-or-less traditional way:
Michael better not be survived by his wife Bobbi, who has made him promise that he’ll outlive her, and who—if he dies first—has vowed to kill him.
He’d better be survived by three fully-grown zygotes, (in fertilization order order), Dana Elizabeth Wolf, Mira Dawn Greenland, and Alyssa Ann Eva Wilk, three tenured sons-by-marriage (in marriage order) John Sherwood Greenland, Jr, Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk, and Daniel Craig (Weidman) Wolf, and seven grandchildren: Kaya Ann Eva Greenland (Z2.1), Lucas Beau Greenland (Z2.2), Tasman Martin Greenland (Z2.3), Michael Konrad Wilk (Z3.1), Sylvia Eva Wilk (Z3.2), Siena Grace Wolf (Z1.1), Kyra Joy Wolf (Z1.2) and everyone else who hasn’t died first.
That last line was written by Mark and Michael for their father’s obituary and Michael wants it used in his.
Like lots of people, Michael’s life was part inspiration and part cautionary tale.
Looking back at his life, he’s pleased with how it turned out, despite doing so many stupid things when he was younger.
He hopes to continue to learn and be less stupid as he continues to live.
Michael isn’t dead yet but knows he’s going to being dead someday, all too soon. He’s not afraid of dying, but he’d rather not. If his body and mind would just stop deteriorating, he’d like to live forever to “find out how it all comes out” as Bill Harmon, father of his friend Dawn Hull, once told him.
And maybe to become a better person.
And maybe, as they say in “Person of Interest.”
if you mean something to someone… if you help someone… or loved someone… if even a single person remembers you… then maybe you never really die at all.
Click here to subscribe to 70 Years Old. WTF! by Email