On September 11, 2001, after my Manhattan offices at the Jewish Federations of North America were evacuated, I walked across the street to pick up my friend Wendy from her office, and the two of us headed uptown to get my husband Michael from his. We planned to camp out at Wendy’s Upper West Side apartment until the Long Island Rail Road began running again. We made one stop along the way at the supermarket, to pick up the necessities we thought we would require if we couldn’t leave for a few days.
When we reconvened at the checkout counter, we surveyed one another’s haul. Wendy had gathered canned goods and a case of toilet paper. Michael had amassed several gallons of water and a variety pack of batteries. They had both made practical choices for an unknown future. And then their eyes turned to my single selection: a package of the newly released chocolate-filled Oreos. When they looked up at me with expressions of confusion about my impractical choice (I mean, Twinkies last forever, but Oreos?), I answered their unasked question: “If I’m going to die today, I don’t want to miss out on these!” Both Michael and Wendy knew me well enough to realize that I wasn’t going to be dissuaded, and that I wasn’t kidding. They also knew me well enough to know that I probably (ok, certainly) wasn’t going to share.
To turn it all around or throw it all away
We gotta tell ‘em that we love ‘em while we got the chance to say,
Gotta live like we’re dying.
You never see a crash until its head on
All these people right when we’re dead wrong,
You never know a good thing till it’s gone.