He’s a billionaire who didn’t like paying taxes, flirted with far right/white supremacist groups, demanded total loyalty from his employees, and was closely identified with a certain fast-food ground beef product. No, we’re noting going off on another rant about Il Douché, we’re thinking of IKEA founder Ingvar Kramprad, who died Saturday at 91. A couple of odd facts: IKEA is an acronym formed by his name, the farm (Elmtaryd) and village (Agunnaryd) where he was raised; employees were expected to embody the “IKEA spirit”: to be humble, clean-cut courteous, and thrifty, which included using both sides of a sheet of paper; in 2004, the Guardian reported that one in ten Europeans were conceived in an IKEA bed. The company has not announced funeral plans, or whether IKEA will now carry a line of DEDMØN coffins. So take out your Allen wrenches, sit quietly on your DJURSBO sofa, and try not to think of when put together.
Sunday’s New York Times ran an essay, “What To Say When You Meet The Angel Of Death At A Party,” by Kate Bowler, a professor who has been living with Stage IV colon cancer for two-and-a-half years. “I am not dying,” she writes. “I am not terminal. I am keeping vigil in the place of almost death.” When her quarterly CT scans show no new tumor growth, she tells herself she has another three months to live. Even with this positive attitude, she finds it hard to take ungainly, if well-meaning, words of support from friends. Her favorite comment comes from her sister: “Yes, the world is changed, dear heart, but do not be afraid. You are loved, you are loved. You will not disappear. I am here.”