Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Where Willingness To Die Proves I'm Shallow...

Being sick, generally speaking, sucks. In my case, I was sick last week. Funny, every time I get ill I might hate life for the duration, but generally come away from the experience with some life lesson about human nature, or the nature of nature. 

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.  

23 comments:

Neil Vogler said...

I'm definitely going to have to read The After.

Tonja said...

Well, if you are giving away stuff, I'll definitely comment....:)

Awareness that I'm going to die makes me try harder to hurry up and get something done. Hope you are feeling better.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Is that why your manuscript ended the way it did? Living through your character? Or rather, dying.
Dying is still scary, even when we know where we'll go afterwards.

Nancy said...

I must hear more about this baby teeth phenomena because I know you are older than 12.

Grumpy Bulldog, March Madman said...

I also want to know more about the baby teeth. I loved "The After" and tomorrow is my Mega Book Review of it.

Chris Fries said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better!

But remember: Good Health is really just dying at the slowest possible rate...

;^)

And I'm also going to have to check out "The After" -- thanks for the tip.

Brinda said...

I hope you feel better. I will refrain from any snide comments about how men behave when they are sick as opposed to women. I think I must write a blog post about it and not name you, of course. lol

You still have baby teeth?

Cherie Reich said...

You still have baby teeth? Weird.

And it's always a sad state when you are so sick you think you'll die from it. I'm glad you are feeling better, though. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

You must mean you have them in a jar.

M.J. Fifield said...

Yeah, what's up with the baby teeth? =)

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I'm making my way through "the After". You gotta watch Briane though...he gets a big head if you compliment him too much.

Andrew Leon said...

It looks like you're going to have to spill it about this teeth thing. Of course, you must want to tell or you wouldn't have mentioned it. :P

@Michael: His head can get bigger? Inconceivable!

Briane P said...

I was about to head out the door for the day, and I saw an alert that Michael Offutt had mentioned me on Twitter, and his mention led me over to here, where I find that my book has inspired you to long for the sweet release of death over a cold.

Higher praise a man could not ask for.

As for whether my head can get any bigger, I like to think of my ego as a kinder, gentler, Katamari Damacy, and as it swells and grows it will eventually envelope the entire world in a gentle hug of egotistical love. So by praising me, you are furthering the time when we can all be one together. It's not so bad... just welcome your fate.

In all seriousness, thanks for the nice words. I'm reading Andrew's book "The House On The Corner" and it's phenomenal, and I read one of Grumpy's and it was great, and I read "A Dead God's Wrath" and gnashed my teeth and rent my clothing in despair for the comparisons between my own feeble efforts and the talent on display there, so it means a lot to me to hear praise from people that actually CAN write, like all of you. I'm not even being humble. You guys carefully hone your books and think about them and plot them and it shows. It really shows. So to be mentioned by actual writers is nice; to be mentioned kindly by them is better.

*chokes up. Dabs at a tear. Realizes he wrecked the moment.*

Cindy said...

Glad to hear your better. This makes me wonder what you'd write about if you had something like a norovirus.

Oh, and I know someone who has 1 baby tooth because he never had the adult tooth.

boopia said...

This must be an awesome blog post, because these comments are ALL OVER THE DANGED PLACE. I have watched quite a number of people die...including tonight. Generally, it is nothing like TV or the movies. Most times, it is not so awful looking. We seem to have mechanisms that protect us at the worst of times. Now events leading up to death...that can be very bad, but sometimes it's not. I recommend sudden death, if you get the chance, but generally that is unplanned and is sort of hell on your family. I have talked to at least 5 people who were clinically dead. None of them complained. Most found it to be a nice experience. One of them stated that he did not remember it. Others definitely remembered all sorts of interesting things. One guy actually described the whole room we were in perfectly and recognized me later, even though he had his eyes closed the whole time. He said he was sitting at the end of the stretcher.
I really enjoyed your comments about how great we have life compared to our predecessors. I think the important points about life and death are enjoy your life. You don't know how many days you have. Death seems perfectly capable of taking care of itself.

Donna Hole said...

I'd ask him for a copy of The After too; but only cuz I read your book already.

Epiphany's can be absurd sometimes :)

.......dhole

Shannon Lawrence said...

I was in a horrible car accident almost a decade ago, and I realized that the thought of death wasn't so horrific. In fact, possibly recovering from something like that is far more horrific. It's odd when you have that moment of realization. It made me somewhat less afraid of various things.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Gail said...

In my years of experience, most men think they are going to die with any on set of the smallest physical malady.

It's normal...you're okay and not gonna die.

You know we have to have these bad times to really appreciate the good ones...and after you survived this death struggle, you mutilated your pinkie!!!! Oh, the chains of mortality are dragging you down!!!
Hang in there.

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