Point of View: Final Things

    “The end is near, the end is near!” I said, running through the village last Thursday afternoon on the way to East Hampton Wines to buy a three-day supply of Mudhouse’s sauvignon blanc.
    What else? A whistle. Newsday said in its preparedness list that I should have one. It’s more impressive if you have a whistle when you run through the village shouting “The end is near (Tweet)! The end is near (Tweet)!”
    What else? It’s time to think of final things, Jack, such as taking a remedial course in math.
    It’s always bothered me that I did so poorly in algebra, and that then, after being told those who failed algebra would in all likelihood do well in geometry, I failed geometry too.
    If I were to retake these courses now, I would apply myself, I think, just as I am applying myself today to being prepared for Hurricane Irene. Oddly, Irene was the Greeks’ goddess of peace, and irenic — ain’t it ironic — means peaceful. The word is every now and then in The Times’s crossword puzzle. It comes from the ancient Greek, which, like Latin, is said to be a dead language. Dead maybe, but beautiful. I should take courses in them too.
    As for my mathochism, an Op-Ed piece in The Times last week comforted me somewhat when it proposed that we jettison pure, abstract math courses in favor of linking math to more practical applications so that we can make better choices — the most pressing one on my mind at the moment being where to park the cars, in the front yard or the back.
    But wait. Didn’t someone, a college classmate of mine in fact, win a Nobel Prize for discovering that when it comes to personal economic decisions it’s irrationality that holds sway?
    And speaking of swaying, I did the other day on a stool in The Star’s back shop as I was proofreading my pages. I turned and looked quizzically at Matt Charron, who was on the same page, as it were, and faster than you could say “Shines for All” we were all standing around outside, giddy but a little shaken.
    And then I remembered Henry was still upstairs. Even a sneezing fit will prod him to look nervously for cover. I found him splayed out, hugging the rug and looking up at me with those almond-shape brown eyes when I arrived at my office, and apologized to him for wanting to save my skin first.
    Earthquakes, hurricanes. . . . What else looms. . . ?
    Ah, how could I forget. Eternity.
    But first, the Hampton Classic.