Death–The Ultimate Weekend
I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of having a morbid sense of humor. I do. It’s probably one of my coping mechanisms for dealing with my anxious obsession with worst-case scenarios. I don't think I’m a ‘Debbie Downer’, I just see end-of-life as the final punch-line of a savage vaudevillian existence.
I have a comic number of panic attacks in which I’m certain that the Grim Reaper is about to knock on the door. I have come to terms with these attacks of clarity by realizing that if the end is near, so too is the end of all my troubles. I’m sorry, I can’t come to work today as I’m dead. I’ve had a good life, certainly better than I deserve. By that logic, I’m on borrowed karma, and I should greet the Reaper with humility and invite them in for a drink.
My theory has been that when humans first came to consciousness of their mortality, by some miracle or coincidence they discovered alcohol around the same time. And the two formed a symbiotic relationship in peoples’ psychology that allowed them to carry on despite the bleak prognosis. Life is too long not to drink. If my liver doesn’t look like a football-sized raisin by the time I die, I haven’t used it wisely. A liver is a terrible thing to waste.
For those that can’t tolerate alcohol, religion sufficed to dumb them down with fairy tales of afterlives and reincarnation. Some may question my preference for slightly excessive alcohol consumption over religion. The answer, of course, is I’m not stupid. I stopped believing in heaven when I stopped believing that the police were here to ‘protect and serve’.
I guess the only thing I would ask of death is that it takes me before my kids. I suppose my mom would ask the same thing if she remembered I was her son. This is what I call the ‘natural order’, and is the best thing you can hope for in life. Bury your parents; never bury your children.
And so, I will carb-splurge occasionally despite my diabetes and add salt to taste despite my heart disease. I’ll have a few glasses of wine every evening when the pell-mell of the day isn’t distracting me from my brick wall. And I’ll pray to the god I don’t believe in that the phone that’s ringing isn’t someone informing me that the ‘natural order’ has been broken.
I’m not trying to die, I just want to live life fully. You only have so much time in this amusement park. Whenever I drive home from out of state, and I see the New Hampshire slogan ‘Live free or die’ I can’t help but correct it in my mind to ‘Live free and die’, since death is an imperative. So drink up, put some salt on your food, and don’t forget to high-five the Grim Reaper when they come to visit. Their job’s not very pleasant so give them a break and don’t be a baby about following them off to the abyss.