Methuselah. Too soon to say whether he died of old age.
Said a typical commentator, "I was shocked to hear of Methuselah's passing. It certainly wasn't something I expected to happen. I think the whole world should go into compulsory mourning for this saintly being. I'm just off to leave some flowers outside Buckingham Palace - and I haven't done that since Princess Diana died."
Preliminary reports saying that Mandelson had died were in error.
One great surprise came with the news that Methuselah had not been taken up directly to Heaven, although it had been widely, er, assumed, that no other fate was possible for such a wonderful being. Meanwhile, Pope Francis is being bombarded with demands that the Vatican grant Methuselah instant canonization, as he is evidently a first-class saint.
When asked what exactly Methuselah had done to merit such adulation, commentators have unanimously praised his patient bearing of imprisonment, with no attempts to escape by digging a tunnel or leaving disguised as a washerwoman, followed by his brilliant career in politics, where he humbly became King, while wisely refusing to attempt revenge on the previous administration (unlike, say, Robert Mugabe, who, although a pious Catholic, is not likely to be mourned so enthusiastically).
Heaven - should it be renamed after its newest arrival?
Of course there will always be curmudgeons, grumblers and brutes who refuse to
join in the World's
hysteria grief. Obviously they must all be secret
supporters of apartheid, and probably they also perform
human sacrifices by the light of the full moon. However, it has
been pointed out by other writers that Methuselah implemented some of the most "liberal"
abortion laws in the world, as well as laws on same-sex "marriage". So
perhaps, like the rest of us, he can't hope for much better than Purgatory
at this stage; in that case we shall need to pray "FREE METHUSELAH" once more.
Have YOU left flowers? If not, we know where you live!
In other news: the entire United Kingdom has disappeared under water.