Literate seniors were thrown for several loops two weeks ago with the completely unexpected announcement of Nora Ephron’s death. The writer/director, with the driest wit since Dorothy Parker, had managed to keep the whole world in the dark about her very serious and long-time leukemia. This is in contrast to Christopher Hitchens who heroically chronicled his demise from cancer through the final hours (You can find his reports in the Vanity Fair archive online). Ephron did  write about the subject of mortality in a short essay “Buy More Bath Oil” which is characteristically rich with truisms about growing old but without an iota of self-pity. She, at least as a writer, seems incapable of being maudlin. Her default was happiness and hilarity.

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