In my spin through the obituaries this week I came across one that began like this:

Irma Capece Minutolo, a Neapolitan beauty queen and opera singer whose relationship with the exiled Egyptian king and world-renowned hedonist Farouk I became fodder for gossip columnists around the world, died on June 7 at her home in Rome. She was 87.

This brought me up short because quite frankly it had never occurred to me that there was a world class of hedonism to aspire to. I’ve been a hedonist all my life, but I doubt I’ve ever risen above the local, or at best regional, level.

What does it take, I wonder, to achieve world-renowned hedonism? Surely a shit-ton of money helps. Beyond that, one must of course have the desire to indulge oneself to the highest degree, as well as the physical stamina to do so.

Sadly, I think that I will never reach planetary status because at 55, my capacity for hedonism is no longer what it was. Even were I to acquire great wealth — and to be honest these days I am already in a position to indulge most of my whims, which are trifling things by and large — the necessary appetite is simply not there.

This is probably a good thing. Scrolling down, one sees that Farouk “died of a heart attack at 45 in 1965, during a midnight meal at a French restaurant in Rome.” Which is not how you want to go out, unless maybe it is? Maybe he was eating an ortolan while getting a blowjob, and died a happy man who never suffered the indignity of decline. We’ll never know.

But on balance I guess I’m happy with my provincial hedonism. Most likely I will never be, like Farouk, the primary character in someone else’s obituary. Such is life.