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Anyone who tells you they don't fear death is a fucking liar. We all fear death, or at least certain types of death. When death comes upon you unawares with pain and with confusion, it can only bring terror along with it. Our view of death reminds me a lot of an old psychology experiment where they would gather strangers in a room and not let them talk. In the middle of them, on a table, the experimenters would place a big bowl with some peanuts inside. Every minute or so they would double the amount of peanuts already in the bowl. People were free to take as many or as few peanuts from the bowl as they wanted and what the study found is that no group made it to the 1 minute doubling. Basically, everyone descending on the bowl like it was fucking feeding time at the zoo. The study even said that in one case a participant dived across the table in his urge to reach that nutty goodness and ended up flipping the bowl, sending all the peanuts to the floor. Of course, all of this occurred only if you used strangers and didn't allow them to communicate. When people were given time to talk before the study began, things were very different. They were able to very quickly work out a system of how many peanuts each person got and how long they would allow the bowl to double up before taking any out for consumption.

In my opinion, death is sort of like this. We can't help to fear it because of the unknown and with the speed is sometimes comes upon us. If, however, we're given the time to get used to the idea, to think it through, then it's not as much of a specter. Lately, I've been contemplating my own death quite a bit more than usual. Whether by my own hands or through illness or accident, the only certainty is that it's coming and probably sooner rather than later. I'm sort of at the age where the warranty on my life has expired and it's now open season. Now is when it's no longer unheard of to simply drop dead from stroke or heart attack or from one of a multitude of life-rending conditions. It may also be that one day soon, I'll find that this life is more than I'm willing to bear and find an exit, stage left. Regardless of how it works out, I think that thinking death through is probably the best way to deal with that moment when it comes. Luckily, it's not like I have all that many attachments and it's not like I'll have to deal with many issues that may afflict others like a spouse or children or career or responsibilities. Maybe that's a blessing in and of itself. After all, isn't it a greater hardship for a rich man to suddenly become penniless than for someone already one step from being a hobo?

If you think about it, life is a rare and fragile thing. Just think of the infinitesimal odds that you have had to overcome to exist as you in this time. Millions of sperm and one egg in thousands just to start with. Where a flick of an eyelash may have changed your chance to exist as you are today. In that way, life, no matter how mean, is a rare and precious gift. It's like winning the most improbable of lotteries. All of this I know and I tell myself I should be grateful but I just can't seem to manage it. It must be one of the grossest examples of poor taste to be given such an opportunity and then begrudge that you received it at all. Sometimes, there is just no hope that you can change your course and you can only pray that the journey is a short one.



So after writing this entry, I was feeling a bit down and decided to catch up on the latest episode of Hell's Kitchen on Hulu. All I can say is that if there's one thing that makes me want to cling to life, it's my disbelief that people like Lacey can be such useless wastes of skin and not want to kill themselves. I'm not sure wanting to live out of spite is a very good reason but it's what I'm feeling right now.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
jirel
Mar. 22nd, 2009 11:21 pm (UTC)
I do think you should talk about it a little (not straight on) with your folks. I am pretty sure that your death would upset them a lot and I think you should get a good handle on that before venturing too far along that line.

I don't have any relatives (other than some cousins and aunts and uncles somewhere out there, but I'm not terribly inclined toward death when I'm not seriously terribly depressed. When I am, I'm still held back but the serious believe that if I haven't learned how to handle what I was dealt in this life, I will have to repeat it to try again. And I'm not going through this fucking life again - although I did have some good parts.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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