Tentatively Yours

The protest is justified for its own reasons, but no one has mentioned one of its unexpected outcomes - helping lonely people.

I didn't know the late Army Radio broadcaster Adi Talmor, but I found inspiration in the way in which he chose to die. I realize it's usually a person's life that's supposed to be a source of inspiration, while his death is the grating noise that upsets the melody. But, as I say, I did not know the man during his life and it's precisely the manner of his death that I envy.

In the end, after all, it's a matter of control: You tuck in your belly, wear a flattering shirt, formulate your views cautiously, count to 10 before speaking, check out the situation carefully before offering someone your bleeding heart on a platter. That's life. And that's also, apparently, death.

Anita Ekberg

There's that sad old joke that all sorts of women tell mischievously, about how they are always meticulous about putting on matching panties and a bra, because you never know when a truck will come barreling around the corner and run you over, and then the paramedics will rip off your outer clothing and your photo will be published in the paper with an unattractive bra or unclean underpants. The fact that you will already be dead doesn't actually bother you; dead or alive, you should never have been caught unprepared at the moment when control was taken from you.

And then along comes Adi Talmor with the perfectly formulated death, which he organized for himself in Switzerland. And who cares whether he packed clean underwear for the trip?

I, for one, will remember his face for all time from the "New Evening" television show that I watched as a kid, where he reported in an authoritative voice about the advance of our forces. Now here's the proof that our forces are the most advanced of all.

Talmor killed and buried and eulogized himself, and left behind some Army Radio legends and a marginal discussion about the moral value of euthanasia. Well - I ask you! As though there were a question here.

As for me, I had such an upsetting week. My therapist went on a sudden vacation. I guess I can only thank the Swiss and be happy that at least when I die, there will be someone who will show me some mercy.

Anyway, that's what I thought for about three days. I even wrote down the name of the company that provides the above-mentioned important service. But thereafter, and as the reserved and yet penetrating stories about the man's private life proliferated, his private death also assumed a form of horrific loneliness. It's more than likely that if it had been I who planned my death in Switzerland, including cremation and ashes and all the little details - I would have cracked at a quite early stage and called a buddy to come and hold my hand.

"Hey!" I would shout into the phone in an unconvincing tone of business-as-usual. "I'm just now dying here. What do you say? Do you feel like coming to see me in Bern?"

Naturally he would get angry and shout and a big drama would start, and until his arrival, the whole matter of an elegant demise would be aborted because of the it's-too-awkward excuse.

Of course, the possibility exists that this would be my way to pretend to be in control of life and death, and show that maybe there was no loneliness. Indeed, in my capacity as the "king of projection," approximately once a day I identify my neuroses in others.

Lately, for example, everyone looks lonely to me. Strictly between me, myself and I, and without anyone listening and marking me as the next Margol, I have the feeling that loneliness is the main fuel of the protest offensive. Over the last few Saturdays I read statuses on Facebook, and in some cases they suggest that the demonstrations are the best thing that ever happened to the owner of the profile. The demonstrations are actually the "home" the person has been looking for all his life, or didn't have the money to buy. The ecstatic happiness and the great excitement generated by the masses of people who gather together because of a shared outcry makes me think that people were simply looking for an excuse to glue themselves to other people with their sweat - and the state provided them with one.

Heaven forbid, I am not badmouthing the objectives here: The protest is strong, I am weak. I am only saying that along the way there were those who got the hug they so craved, and thus from their point of view - even if the price of gasoline keeps on increasing - they got what they wanted. You will probably say: This has nothing to do with loneliness, it's a matter of control. And I will say that the argument I am putting forward here is that it's actually the same thing.

Now a little gossip: My hip female friend was at some parlor meeting held by the protest leader Daphni Leef, and her learned conclusion was: "She's sort of an unbearable woman."

"That's what you have to say?" I ask. "You, for whom the tent protest is in your blood - you weren't able to get through half an hour without wrinkling up your nose?"

"From the start she barked at everyone to turn their cellphones off, so that it would be possible to talk, as though she were the commander and had a list of demands."

"And did you turn off your phone?"

"No," she replied. "On the contrary: I spoke really loud on the phone, so she would understand that I don't work for her."

Maybe this is the problem with people like us: that for too many years we have already been protesting very loudly against a lot of selfish and trivial things, and at the moment of truth, when a real protest is needed, we suddenly can't find our voice. As though we had wasted it before.

Here, for example, is the list of urgent causes, for which I will be happy to harness support in future rallies:

* the protest of the people whose therapists go on vacation at really bad times;

* the protest of the people for whom Orbit stopped making the mint candies they love;

* the protest of the people who, after their therapist takes off, meet their ex on the street and he looks perfect and every feature of his face says, "Do you want to get back at your therapist? I'm offering you my sick bed"; and

* the protest of the people whose friends are going to Greece next week while they have to stay here and work. Why in the world is everyone traveling in August? The friends and the therapist - and only I am left here alone.

Alone. That's the bottom line. Do you feel that the tent protest has restored control to your life? Well, even if you had a good time at the demo, you should know that you are still alone. And even if you have control of your life, you don't yet have control of your death, and the Adi Talmor precedent proves that this is no less important.

My therapist nods when I talk with her about the deceased at our last session. "Eternity is only ashes and dust," I tell her, "so where in the hell are you going?"