Sunday, October 01, 2006

Where's The Reaper?

Funny how attitudes change toward death. Here I am, sitting in a chair, enjoying a sunny Michigan day, and thinking that maybe tonight is the night. Perhaps I'll lay my head down on the pillow, close my eyes, and the darkness will finally claim me.

I don't mean to sound morbid. It just interests me to think how much I've changed. About ten years ago I was wrapped in a death phobia. I used to start thinking about the idea of falling through an icy nothingness and I would have to jump up and start walking around to drive the fear away. I guess I equated movement with life. I suppose it was narcissistic of me. I mean, I would close my eyes and try and imagine the world without me. Impossible. By imagining nothing, you are by definition imagining something.

When I had cancer (presuming I don't have it now), my doctor urged me into surgery. "You have to do it now. As soon as possible. We can't risk the cancer spreading."

I nodded thoughtfully and replied: "You have to wait until after Sunday, April 2nd (at least I think it was that date). "Why?" the doctor asked.
"Wrestlemania," I responded. "I want to see if Hulk Hogan is going to win. I mean, if I die, I die. So, why not at least see Wrestlemania."

I think absurdity is the best weapon against death. A wonderful author, myself, once put it this way in his his novel, PALPABLE ILLUSION:

“Let me tell you something someone once told me when I was in medical school,” said Sharkey. “Once a professor caught me admiring a new machine developed for diagnostic purposes. He came up and put his hand on my shoulder. ‘That’s nothing,’ he said. ‘All our science is nothing. We’re nothing. We’re only a millisecond removed from the sludge. No matter what we achieve, or think we achieve, it becomes insignificant when put in the proper perspective. What, after all, is the last couple thousand years of civilization when measured against the last hundred million years of time? And what is a lifetime? It's a cosmic joke and we're all the butt of that joke. And God, whatever God is, laughs at us from above. Every time we think we matter, God laughs.'

“And I said, 'If you believe that, Professor, then why don't you kill yourself and deprive God of his jester?'

“My professor smiled and said, 'Because, I have a sense of humor, Galen. I don't mind being the butt of a joke, as long as I can laugh a little, too.'“

So...maybe tonight. Maybe tomorrow night. Maybe not for a long time. But until the reaper settles over me, let me smile and share the joke. I have a sense of humor. So what the hell. by the way...if any agent or publisher would like to see Palpable Illusion...lemme know.

1 comment:

Chuck Z. said...

Hi Stewart,

I know exactly how you feel. I lost my faith when I was about 12 (same time I realized I knew everything, discovered H. P. Lovecraft, and began my love affair with Heavy Metal music)but found a morbid facination with my own mortality to replace it. I can't tell you how many hours of sleep I've lost contemplating oblivion. Eventually I'd jump up from my meditative state and start wailing on my pillows like Rocky at a slaughterhouse. It's not particularly reassuring when you think that in one or two generations, no one will remember that you existed.

This feeling reached its zenith after they knocked me out for my brain surgery. The span of time I was unconcious scared me for a long time. It was like I'd been given a taste of oblivion. I was knocked out before when they took my wisdom teeth out, and obviously I sleep, but when I think of those times I don't get chills. I think that I was under so deep that my brain's internal clock shut down, and now it can't account for that lost time. (shrugs)

I don't worry about it so much anymore. Perhaps there's only so much the psyche can take before it lets go or goes crazy as a defense mechanisim.