Many thanks to Cultural Offering, which is a must-read site, for pointing us to the marvelous article that William F. Buckley Jr. wrote a few years ago about some of his close friends. An excerpt from the section on David Niven, who was suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease:
I remember one afternoon, coming back from skiing to go to work. He was there with his paintbrushes and hailed me. He wanted to tell me something. His face choked up with laughter. It was hard to make out what he was saying, but I managed. He had been in his car when stopped by the red light in Gstaad. An old friend who knew nothing about the illness was coincidentally stopped opposite him, headed in the other direction. He leaned out the window. "What have you got?" he asked David.
"I tried to get out to him," he had a problem with the words, "that I had amytrophic lateral sclerosis. He could hear me well enough but couldn't make out what I said. He yelled back just as the light changed. 'Oh? Well I've got a Lamborghini 500S!' " It hurt David to laugh, and that was the truly unbearable burden.