The Politically Incorrect Show - 10/08/2000
[Music - Die Fledermaus]
Good afternoon, KAYA ORAAAA & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show on the free speech network, Radio Pacific, for Thursday August 10, proudly sponsored by Neanderton Nicotine Ltd, the show that says bugger the politicians & bureaucrats & all the other bossyboot busybodies who try to run our lives with our money; that stands tall for free enterprise, achievement, profit & excellence against the state-worshippers in our midst; that stands above all for the most sacred thing in the universe, the liberty of the human individual.
[Music up, music down]
Just before I was to leave for the United States on June 3 last, my dad died. I wanted to pay tribute to him on air; I also wanted to wait until I was confident I could do so without getting overwrought. I think that time has come; forgive me if I turn out to be wrong.
Dad lived a good, full life. He was seventy-five years old when he died, & his body had really come to the end of its tether. Many years ago he had fallen ill while himself in the States with my mum. He underwent a quadruple coronary bypass operation in a San Diego hospital. When I rang the hospital to see how he was, I exclaimed to the nurse who answered the phone: "Quadruple?!" "Oh yes," she replied, "he needed a bit of work." That bit of work prolonged his life by fifteen years.
In his youth, my dad had excelled at cycling & squash, at one point being the runner-up to the NZ champion in the latter sport. Though his body became increasingly frail, his spirit was always strong & life-embracing. Right up to the end, he would spend hours on the golf course - painful, arthritic hip & all - often in the company of his treasured grand-daughter, Jasmine.
I spoke to him by telephone the day of the night that he died. He had just come out of hospital, where a pacemaker had been installed in his chest to do the work of his ailing heart. I asked if everything was working OK. My mother overheard, & ribaldly piped up that not QUITE everything was working - whereupon Dad chuckled, "Silly bitch." I felt reassured that everything was back to normal!
My mother was the great love of his life. They were together for nigh-on fifty years, & couldn't bear to be apart. Once, he had to attend a course in Otaki for a new job, a course that involved on overnight stay away from home. As night fell, my mum was showing obvious signs of pining for him. Her agitation only increased as the night wore on. Then, suddenly, my dad walked through the front door. He too had been pining, & had snuk away from the course to come back to Mum.
His capacity to love was matched only by his honesty. There never was a more genuine fellow than George Perigo. He had no malice, no guile, no pretensions. Politically speaking, he was not a libertarian by conscious conviction, but he was curious. He confessed to my sister that he had read Atlas Shrugged, "to see what Lindsay's on about."
We gave him a great send-off. He "lay in state" in an open coffin at the house for three days, surrounded by photographs & memorabilia, as friends came by to pay their last respects. All the while, we played his favourite music - Glenn Miller, Judy Garland, Al Jolson, Louis Armstrong, Mario Lanza & others. As he was finally driven away in the hearse, Mario sang I'll See You Again.
None of us literally believed that, of course, but a cousin said, alluding to our atheism, "Wouldn't it be nice if we were wrong?" As the great nineteenth century free-thinker Robert G. Ingersoll observed, "The idea of immortality was not born of any religion - it was born of human affection, of the imperishable, universal desire to be reunited with the loved & lost." However, if death does end all, "next to eternal joy, next to being for ever with those we love, is to be wrapped in the dreamless drapery of eternal peace."
I don't expect to see my dad again. But I do want to honour his memory today with a Free Radical Award.
To my mum, whose heart is aching: hang in there. To my dad: I love you, & thanks for everything.
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