Kickass, the doorstop dog, passes along the keeper’s definition of aging as marching in lock-step platoon formation through enemy territory with sniper bullets zinging down from the trees and the steeples. The casualty rate is astounding and ultimately total, and contemplating it is tolerable only because of its random nature so individuals never know just how or when the bullet comes for them. Joel Skornicka was a good man and a good friend, always with a smile and a joke or perhaps an amusing account of his experience as a former Madison mayor. He died suddenly a day or so ago—at only 82, with no apparent warning to him or anyone else. The old-age platoon never missed a step, and closed ranks around the empty space where Joel had marched. Such is the necessary nature of things, and Kickass notes the canine advantage of dogs not knowing anything about it.