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'Worst Thing' Essayist Carey Succumbs to ALS


Last September, many of you were moved by an essay we broadcast called "The Absolute Worst Thing" by Seth Carey. Seth had ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, and it took him weeks to write his essay using a special computer program. As he explained, ALS kills motor neurons, the signal pathways to voluntary muscles. He was trapped inside his own body, able to think and feel, but unable to move or speak without great difficulty. He relied on his sense of humor to get him through. Here is a portion of that essay. Seth Carey's computer gave voice to his words.

(Soundbite of September 2004 broadcast)

SETH CAREY: Eventually, I came to realize that when you find yourself stuck in traffic, you are faced with a choice: You can get all mad, giving the finger to everyone and bang on the dashboard, or you put on your favorite CD, rummage around for a roach and sing along with the guitar solo.

HANSEN: Seth sang along with the guitar solo to the end. Vicky Merick(ph), the producer who worked with him on that essay, informed us that Seth Carey died Friday evening at his home in West Falmouth, Massachusetts. He is survived by his wife, Shannon.

You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.