Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens died in a plane crash Monday about 10 miles northwest of the village of Aleknagik, on Bristol Bay in Alaska. Stevens and eight other people were in the midst of a fishing trip, aboard a single-engine DeHavilland DHC-3T, when the plane crashed into a mountainside. Stevens and four other people were killed; four survived.
“Aleknagik” is of the Yupik language, and translates into English as “Wrong Way Home.”
Stevens was 86. To me, there is something quintessentially Mr. Ha-Ha about an 86-year-old man, who has for so long successfully evaded all the many traps and snares of mortality, perishing in a plane crash.
Then again, it could be said that Stevens was gifted with an additional 32 years of life, as he survived the crash of a small private plane in December 1978, a crash which took the life of his wife, Ann, and four other people.
Maybe it’s just me, but death a la Icarus seems a particularly mortifying way to go. Because aloft in the air is not a natural place for human beings; in a crash, there is time to recall that. So too through the millennia have sailors feared most death by drowning, and miners death underground; for neither are human beings created for life in water, or inside the earth.
Stevens was not of my political karass, but I suppose that here in my own fragile corporeal container I will always maintain a small place of fondness for him. Stevens will remain immortal, so long as I am mortal, because it is he who named the Internet “the tubes.”