Ever since I turned 70 last October I’ve been monitoring myself for signs of impending death or disability. No kidding. I’ve always been a hypochondriac, and getting older has only made me worse. Take what happened a couple of weeks ago. One Friday morning I got out of bed, had a peculiar buzzing sensation in the top of my head followed by a loss of balance, and soon afterward suffered a severe onset of vertigo, with all the disagreeable side effects. Convinced I was having a stroke and was experiencing my last few moments of existence, or at least of rational thought, I gazed soulfully up at my wife Ruth while we awaited the arrival of the ambulance, hoping to carry this last image of her beauty with me into the Hereafter, or the nursing home. She smiled nicely for me. Later, as the EMTs were carrying me out to the ambulance, all I could think of was, “Poor Ruth, she doesn’t know how to change the water filter!” Happily, for me at least, the outcome was not death or an accelerated loss of my reasoning powers (they were already failing in any case). I’m on the road to recovery and, as you can see, am back at the computer. If you read this, and it sounds like it was written by a demented rhesus monkey, I hope you’ll let me know. Now I’m off to change the water filter.