I realized, for the first time in my life, that when that moment comes, that time when I’m destined to lie down for the very last time. Close my eyes for eternity… well, it might not be so bad.
I was lying in my bed. A comfortable, king sized bed with plenty of room to kick my legs and get all tied up with the blankets. I was punching, feebly, mind you, at my tempurpedic pillow, one of those crafted with the finest in Swedish space age technology (because, they go to space all the time I guess) and costs hundreds of dollars to own – and I was lamenting at how horrible my life was.
I did appreciate the irony of course. On the rare day that I don’t eat out, I still enjoy a diet that the King of England would have envied a few short centuries ago. I can eat ripened grapes any time I want. I can have watermelon, tomatoes, pineapples, whatever. Hell, pepper was practically a wonder of the world at the time.
So, like I said. I was sick, feeling sorry for myself despite that fact that I have a higher standard of living than 99.9% of all the people that have ever lived. And as I inch ever closer to forty, I’ve already managed to beat the life expectancy of the typical adult up until around 150 years ago. And I’m in better shape than most of them. I mean, hell, I still have my teeth. Actually, I still have my baby teeth (that's true).
So, while I’m staring at the ceiling, doped up on Nyquil and Vapo-rub, and I have my moment, the shining moment that we all experience at some point in our lives eventually.
I’m going to die.
I don’t want to. I want to be here as humans slowly and painstakingly uncover the mysteries of the universe. But then again, as I laid in my misery I thought, what if I just closed my eyes and it was all over? All I could think was that it might not be so bad.
So, while I don’t want to die, that pain and suffering a common cold put me through made me actually long for the sweet release of death.
I have to say, that seems incredibly shallow of me. I mean, some people fight famine, disease, war, and natural disasters for years, only to be rewarded with more famine, disease, war, and natural disasters. Life for most people really kinda sucks.
But, I was reading Briane Pagel’s epic tale of the afterlife, The After, this era’s answer to The Divine Comedy – for those of us less familiar with the classics, think of Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey – and I think that had something to do with my state of being.
The real review of the book will come later. As I’ve not written it yet. But it really had me thinking about how content I would be to have a world, noticeably similar to my own, but better. Would I question it, as the characters did in his book, or would I just go with it and enjoy forever? Do we need suffering so much that we’re willing to create it in order to feel human?
I know this, if I closed my eyes sick and opened them healthy, I’d be so damned happy to feel better that I think I might have confused this world with The After. If it wasn’t for all that dirty laundry and the need to show up at work I might think I was in the afterlife now. Weird that.
Anyway, learn more about Briane and participate in his 100 days of Star Wars Trivia blogathon going on at his blog. This week's random prize for folks that comment is a copy of my novelette, A Dead God's Wrath. That's right, you can possibly get the prize of the century there. Although personally, I'd ask him for a copy of The After if I won.