Yom chamishi, 10 Tamuz 5769.
"Ema, I've been thinking about the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett."
"Nu? The IDF doesn't have enough work to keep your mind busy?"
"Cute, Ema. I'm doing guard duty. Right now I'm guarding a rusted jeep from 1948 and a chicken coop that even the Arabs don't want."
"Okay... so you're thinking about American celebrities. Nobody from your own era to keep your mind busy? Some rapper -- they're dropping off the twig fairly regularly -- or some actor... who's that Superman fellow who recently died? Keith What's-His-Name?"
"Heath Ledger, Ema. Batman. The Joker, actually. When was the last time you were at a movie?"
"I dunno, Honey. You guys keep telling me they're not appropriate for me... It's been a while."
"Well, anyway... I want to tell you what I was thinking about Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. Because he was 50, and she was 60."
This resonates, because Mike was my contemporary, and Farr -- what ought one to have called her, in a chummy way? -- Mrs. Majors was the contemporary of the Dearly Beloved.
"Nu? So what's on your mind?"
"I was thinking about how different you and Abba are from them, even though you are the same ages. That you made different life choices. Good choices." He continues. "You and Abba are like alkaline batteries."
I had thought that I was paying attention -- but with Soldier Boy, even the slightest mental lapse can leave one stranded a verbal continent away. "Uhhhhhhh... batteries...?"
"Alkaline batteries, Ema. See, the Army doesn't use lithium batteries, because -- while they burn bright and strong -- they run out of power way too quickly -- they die too quickly."
I am beginning to regain my hold on the conversation. "And alkaline batteries?" I prompt.
"Alkaline batteries last a long time, and have a slow, graceful decline."
I wonder briefly how many heavy machine gunners talk about the "slow, graceful decline" of alkaline batteries.
"Well, Abba and I are glad that you are happy with the life choices we made, Sweetheart. I daven for us that we will show you a very slow, very graceful decline."
Disclaimer: Dear Panasonic, please don't take offense. Your lithium battery was only used as illustration. There was absolutely no intention to equate your particular brand of battery with the fast-paced lives of film and music icons. Dear various alkaline battery companies: Don't take this as an endorsement. We never know when we will drop off the twig. One day, that battery checker registers "Replace" for each and every one of us.