One of the reasons I enjoy my long rides north out of town is that I can get NPR on my radio, WAMC out of Albany. (The mountains block the reception at the homestead.) On the way back from my daughter’s after Thanksgiving, I had a chance to hear an interview with Norman Mailer when he was at Hunter College last January.
I was able to find this blog post, which not only displays a photo of Mailer from last May, but offers some of Mailer’s best lines from his Hunter College interview. Unfortunately, the post doesn’t include his comments about death.
Mailer died on November 11.
From what I remember about what I heard him say in the taped interview, Mailer hinted at believing that we all come back, that there is some kind of reincarnation that happens. He told this story (and I’m paraphrasing.)
Hmmm, the clerk says, looking through the papers stacked on his clipboard. I’m afraid that one’s terribly oversubscribed. And it appears that we do have your future all set, however. You’re going to return as a cockroach.
Gee, says Mailer, that’s not exactly what I was hoping for.
Well, says the clerk, if it makes you feel any better, you’ll be the biggest and fastest cockroach in the block.