Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I Think a Lot About Death

I think a lot about death. Daily, in fact. Not because of some overwhelming desire to achieve the state of it myself well before my time, but it’s interesting to think that we’re born and have this consciousness that we get used over a lifetime, and then, suddenly one day, hopefully a long time after the event of your birth, it extinguishes and ceases to be. It’s something that is not quite fathomable, a concept that is extremely difficult to grasp. But, as the wonderful Mr. George Carlin put it, death is the fairest thing we have because we all get it once. Precisely. Every flora and every fauna. Every single one of us gets a nice big heaping bowl of death. Serve with milk and it’s delicious, so I hear.

If you think about it, though, it might not be as hard to fathom as we think. After all, we all experience it, in my opinion anyway, in some form every night, and we call that form sleep. I think there’s a reason death is compared to it. The big sleep, eternal sleep, we call it, and sometimes, we, as well as many a fictitious gangster refer to it rather humorously as sleeping with the fishes.

In sleep, we lie down, shut our eyes and shut down our consciousness for hours at a time. Death, I think, is like that period in between our waking hours and sleep: assuming we don’t dream, or, at least assuming we don't remember doing so, there is blackness that happens that we don’t experience. We simply stop noticing life. That is what I imagine death to be like. If all goes well, at the end of sleep we wake up with the sun blaring in our eyes, begging us to be aware of the world again. I also used to compare death to shutting off a television set. You push a button, it goes black. If only it were that easy for us. If that were possible, though, I’d personally like access to that button tremendously hard to acquire. In fact, it should be limited to myself and should only be achievable by using some kind of fingerprint scanning technology.

Some people die naturally of things like old age or cancer. Others die rather unnaturally, e.g., being hit by a bus, or choking on toothpicks. I, myself, would rather meet my demise naturally, as toothpicks don’t particularly agree with my digestive system.

There are other aspects of death that I think about often. Throughout my short years I’ve regrettably lost contact with a couple of friends due to what I think are trivial reasons. I often wonder when I perish, if it’s before them, upon learning of my demise, would these friends simply not care, or would they regret letting something so small getting in the way of our friendship and show up to my funeral to say one last good bye. For context, the loss of friendship was often due to tiny spats, misunderstandings or slight differences in personalities. I did not, for example, stab their family members with ice picks, or callously kick their pets in the ribs, both of which would be perfectly acceptable reasons to severe a friendship. But, I miss them and I plan to reach out in some way in the near future, if only to send them an invite to my funeral. 

I sometimes think of suicide, it’s unavoidable, especially because of the recent tragic news of Robin Williams’ passing, but I don’t believe I could ever go through with something like that. Mr. Williams could. I can’t. A friend asked me the other day what my motivation in life was, and, after a insincere response of “I can’t answer that,” I truthfully answered, “Experiences, art, film, music, friends, family, technology, reality, all that good stuff.” There are too many exciting things happening with technology, science and art that I can’t take myself away from it all, too many advances, too many minutes of movies being filmed, too many words of books being written. I can’t be leave yet. 

I also wonder, when I go, did I make some sort of positive impact in this life that I can be proud of? Negative impacts are abound, of that I’m sure, and they are regrettable. But, I hope I have left some kind of positive stamp, whether with my words or my actions, no matter how small. I try to open doors for people whenever possible. I offer smiles to strangers here and there, even though it sometimes pains me to do so, being as uncomfortable with social interaction as I am.

So, will I have left a stamp? Mr. Williams obviously and inarguably did. Will the one I make be as big? Probably not. But I’ll try my best to make one before I go.

I think so much about death that I wrote a tiny story about it. Some think, according to reviews, that it’s a good story to read if you’re coping with it. I can’t be the judge of that. But download yourself a FREE copy and tell me what you think. It’s available on Amazon and Smashwords.

1 comment:

  1. I recall after watching "Ghost Dog" and as he read his book he quoted a samurai thinking of dying every day. "The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears, and swords. Being carried away by surging waves. Being thrown into the midst of a great fire. Being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake. Falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease, or committing seppuku at the death of one's master. And every day, without fail, one should consider himself as dead. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai."

    I was like "Guess its not just me." I don't do it in a sad way wishing I could die. Its just a reminder of how flimsy this is and to at least attempt to be happy or make someone else feel good. I have small goals to stay alive for and its usually a movie that comes out a year from now or having too many items for whoever is left alive to have to get rid of when I'm gone.