Saturday, March 2, 2013

Do the Math

In the movies, when somebody finds out they're dying, they start LIVING. They hang-glide. They run around naked on the grounds of stuffy country clubs. They kiss beautiful girls and sing songs of joy in pubs. Their death becomes a celebration of life, and as an audience we're supposed to share in the moment and feel empowered and alive and grateful for what we've got.

In real life, when you find out you're dying, there are tubes sticking out of you and they come by to take blood four times a day. They wake you, roll you over roughly and wipe the mess off you with a cheap towel every couple hours and they talk about maybe sending you home at some point and giving you your dignity back but it never happens. You die in a dirty bed with a head full of fear and regret.

But the movies are right. You don't need to take that shit.

One day in January 2008, when my pop was wasting away and losing his sanity at a hospice in Brooklyn, the sun came out without any warning and it warmed the city and we felt something like those people in the movies feel. There were three of us there with him that day: my sister, my dad's longtime companion, and me. And somehow we managed to roll his bed out into the nearby park without asking for permission, and we all sat together and told stories and he found an hour's worth of coherence and he breathed real outside air for the last time in his life. And for that hour it felt like he was alive again, not just a vacant husk of the man we all loved for so long. It was the only time we got him outside before he died a couple of weeks later, but it made a difference somehow. More than that, it had to be done.

If I told you you were dying right now, would you roll your bed outside and soak up the day and kiss the girl and sing your favorite song as loud as you could? Because make no mistake, you're dying. That knock at the door is closer than you think. And with your time running out, you cannot waste a single second doing a bunch of bullshit that you don't have to do. It should all be prime rib and water slides from here on out.

Do the math. Figure you're 40. If you're lucky, you got 40 more years left.
40 years
13 years sleeping
10 years working for some other asshole
4 years on your way somewhere but not there yet
4 years doing chores and taking care of people you love
4 more years other miscellaneous crap your obligated to do and can't get out of
You are goddamn terminal. You are done. This is the final game of your season. When the clock runs out, you will not advance to the next round. You will shake hands and that'll be it.

So you need to put the fuckin' ball in the air and have some fun.

That means no more Bravo TV, no more Us Magazine, no more listening to mediocre songs all the way through when they pop up on the shuffle. How the hell did I end up with like 40 Wilco songs in my library? Skip.

Batting cages: good. Thin Lizzy: good. Cannonballs into swimming pools. Screaming Bowler's Choice. Frisbee. Making out. Barbecues. Wrasslin'. All good.

Go out and do whatever it is that makes you feel excellent. Be careful about the things that speed up the dying process. But do some of those too if it feels right.

Just be aware of the math, kids. No more Wilco.

Location:Los Angeles,United States


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thin Lizzy!