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Why is everything trying to kill me? Or at least deprive me of sleep?

Recently, my life has been struck by multiple tragedies.

Gas prices are well-positioned to break the sky diving altitude record.

I don’t get to sleep in anymore because my young kiddos are earlier risers.

I’m dying.

A fourth, potential tragedy, given my alleged children’s polar opposite behavior when it comes to mornings, is that they may not be mine.

(I’m not sure which I prefer – that I produced humans who enjoy being up before the sun, or that I didn’t produce the humans I am raising as my own. So far, it’s a toss-up.)

While being deprived of my morning ritual of not waking up is by far the most unendurable of these tragedies, the dying thing is a not-so-distant second.

And as someone recently forced by circumstances to buy a mini van, let me tell you, watching the dollars spent spin by while gassing that thing up is a special form of financial torture that makes you wish for death.

This has left me feeling a bit conflicted.

Yes, death offers a very tempting escape from the bankruptcy-inducing cost of keeping my toddler transport vehicle operational.

But only for me. Not so much for the surviving missus. Or my kids, for that matter.

So while expensive gas should make death seem like a viable option for me, it doesn’t.

It turns out this dying thing has got me kinda freaked out.

It’s not fair. I was plodding along in life, reasonably happy and utterly oblivious to my impending bankruptcy/mortality, when BOOM!

It happened.

An awakening event that revealed my horrible fate to me.

A birthday.

Actually, three birthdays in rapid succession.

The missus, a friend, and I all flipped our annual odometers this month.

And unlike cars, you can’t roll back your personal odometer.

Believe me, I tried. But turns out biological clocks are way more complicated than the cable and count rotation systems employed by automobile odometers, and can’t be reset no matter how much ether you drink or scalpels you employ.

(Pro tip: don’t try to operate on yourself while under the influence of ether. At best, you get some interesting scars. At best.)

This year, my birthday was one of those ‘landmark’ birthdays, the kind that greeting card publishers print special cards for. Like, an entire row in the store card section special cards.

This officially means I am old.

Not ancient like my parents, thankfully, but still, old.

And running up to that birthday, seeing it sitting there like a panther on a large boulder, licking its chops while waiting for me to get close enough to pounce, all I could think about was the fact that I’m old.

Getting old.

Getting older.

In other words, dying.

Yes, if this aging thing isn’t stopped, it will eventually kill me.

Don’t snort derisively. It’ll eventually kill you too.

Sadly, there’s no known cure at this time, though I’ve heard about some interesting treatments that can allegedly prolong your life:

  • Cryogenics, where they freeze you until a cure is found for aging. The only drawbacks I’ve come across so far in my research is that people with an intolerance for cold aren’t good candidates, and that Norwegians, used to intemperate climates, are immune to the process (and its benefits).Swedes and the Dutch, inexplicably, are not immune.
  • Organ replacement, where they replace your organs with those of young Chinese dissidents. If you have the money and the connections, I hear they can keep you going an extra forty, fifty years. Maybe enough time to find a proper cure.
  • A regular regimen of exercise and healthy eating. This strikes me as the least promising of the studies I’ve come across, but if I get desperate enough, I may try it.

For now, I’m watching the clock tick by as I listen to the news, waiting to hear about a mortality treatment breakthrough. And keeping an eye on my 401k, hoping it performs well enough to finance my organ replacement plans.

So far, it isn’t.

Which is a tragedy.

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Posted by on 23 October 2012 in Angst, Conspiracies Out To Get Me, Life

 

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Necrophilia: Yet another argument for cremation

Family-friendly vehicle, or corpse-smuggling automotive enabler?

It is a well-known fact that the Honda Odyssey is the preferred vehicle of necrophiliacs. It must be the smooth ride and impressive air conditioning.

I’m worried about what will happen to me after I die.

I’ve always been worried about dying, though more out my reluctance to leave a huge vacancy in the lives of my friends and family than due to my abject terror of shuffling off this oh-so-cursedly mortal coil.

But I’ve suddenly realized that something truly terrible could happen to me after I’ve died.

My corpse could fall into the hands of a necrophiliac.

Yes, I am now kept up late at night by worries of being violated in flagrante delicto mortum.

Not even my wife’s repeated assurances that I’d be lucky to get any while alive provide any comfort.

But she tries, and that’s why I love her. And my kids. I love my kids because despite looking nothing like me, they are clearly a part of the woman I love.

So what is one to do? How can one protect the sanctity of one’s body after death?

Who would want to have sex with a rotting corpse, especially one that looks like yours? is the most common response I get when I raise this question.

They’re necrophiliacs, people! Depraved misfits who get off on disgusting acts. Nothing is beneath them.

Save perhaps the occasional corpse.

So you can’t just blithely rule the possibility out.

You’re dead, you won’t care, now can I please leave? is another response I’ve been hearing a lot lately. Mostly from co-workers I’ve pigeon-holed in the smaller conference rooms at work. Their callous attitude makes me suspicious they have darker motives for convincing me to drop my guard.

Damned closeted necros.

Yes, if I’m dead, I might be oblivious to the trespass, but knowing it could happen then makes me care now.

Right now.

So what can I do?

Cremation seems like the perfect solution, until you think about it.

First off, what’s to stop someone desecrating your urn? Sure, ashes might not be the sexiest lubricant, but if the particles are fine enough…

No, I have not thought about this too much! You can never think about something this important too much!

But assuming you order the extra-coarse cremation option (and frankly, this ought to be an option, crematoriums), there’s still that period of vulnerability between the moment of death and the embrace of the furnace.

You could end up in the care of an unsavory cremation technician who’s been exposed just a little too long to the fumes of the crematorium furnace fuel.

Hell, if I was a necrophiliac, and I wanted a pool of perfect victims where there would be no unpleasant embalming fluids to deal with (I imagine formaldehyde would burn … sensitive areas) and you’re not just expected, but encouraged, to burn all the evidence, cremation technician would be the perfect job.

And that’s assuming your body is found right away. What if you have the bad luck to keel over while alone with a secret necrophiliac?

Or worse, killed by one? One who has meticulously planned your murder to minimize physical damage in order to stuff your naked body and keep it as a trophy in his (or her) underground dungeon, right next to the naked Blake Shelton Real Doll?

At least I hope that’s a Real Doll!

Or, worst case of all scenario, you’re murdered by a necrophiliac who abuses your poor corpse for years, and then the bastard dies of a heart attack, how else but in flagrante delicto mortum. And thus is your body discovered and photographed for evidence (and for the private collections of some pretty sick CSI techs), and then you are turned over to a cremation technician.

A cremation tech who enjoys huffing and just happens to like the cut of your jib, as it were.

Talk about a final indignity!

If you aren’t worried about this, you should be! No one is exempt from the perverted attractions felt by amorous necros. And lets face it, they probably aren’t getting a lot, so they’re gonna feel really, really amorous.

Like large quantities of alcohol, that’s only gonna lower their standards until no one dead is safe.

We need as many people working on a solution to this problem as possible because frankly, I haven’t slept a wink since this threat became known to me.

This means I’m really tired.

Combine that with my driving a mini van now, quite possibly on a road in your neighborhood, and I think you are properly incentivized.

And when you think about it, that’s clearly what’s really bothering me: I drive a mini van.

Which means I’m old.

Which means I’m closer to dying.

And falling into the clutches of a depraved cremation technician.

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A Sad Farewell

A friend died this week. She was my wife’s best friend.

It’s been a tough week.

She was a mom. A seven month old baby boy and a nine-year old daughter. Her passing plays up on one of my own fears – dying and leaving my kids without their daddy.

At the memorial, I held her son. So innocent, his eyes wide and looking around with wonder and joy because he had no idea what had happened, how much of a sharp turn his life had just taken.

The daughter wasn’t there. She was with her dad, the ex-husband, who, due to some sort of feud, decided none of his family would attend. This also plays into my fears about dying before my kids are grown up – them being left at the mercy of others who may not behave or raise them in ways I would want.

So a sad day, a sad week, tinged with anger and disbelief.

The world has lost a very kind, very generous woman who was also a loving mother.

My wife has lost a dear friend.

A seven month old baby has lost his mother, will grow up never knowing her, never fully grasping what he lost.

A nine-year old girl will continue on, knowing exactly who she has lost, exactly how her life has changed.

I don’t know which is worse, to be that infant robbed of having memories of a mommy, or the little girl who has those memories and has seen them cut off forever.

Make no mistake, both situations are terrible and tragic and unfair. But which one is worse?

I honestly don’t know.

All I can say is that there is no justice in a world that would rob us of a friend, a confidant, a fiance, a mommy.

 
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Posted by on 22 August 2011 in Life

 

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I’m so worried about the baggage retrieval system they’ve got at Heathrow

I worry a lot. At first, I thought it might have something to do with being a new parent. But then I realized I’m worried about a lot more than just my kids. I’m worrying about everything.

Sure, I worry about the usual things with my kids. Are they allergic to peanuts? Will they find a plastic bottle cap somewhere and choke on it? Have they figured out how to open doors? If so, does that mean they might run outside and get hit by a car? Have they figured out where my plutonium collection is and will they try to play with it?

But I also worry about other things. Just before I use my badge to open the door at work, I worry that it won’t unlock the door because I’ve been fired and/or laid off. Every single time.(I blame the layoff I went through a couple of years ago for that.)

When the phone rings, my first thought is, “Oh no, someone has died.” And then I worry about who it is who just died. I do this even when my mother-in-law calls from work to talk to my wife. She calls every morning at the same time. I know it’s her. And yet I still worry someone has died.

When I get in the car to drive somewhere, I worry that I’ll be in an accident. I worry that I’ll be killed. I worry not because I fear death, but because I fear leaving my kids without a dad.(Well okay, maybe there is a little fear of death too.)

I worry about crime, food poisoning, that the guy who installed our cable in the bedroom dipped our toothbrushes in the toilet while we weren’t looking, bullets fired in the air landing on my house and on me or my kids, global warming, a new global ice age (apparently the sunspot cycle is such that this might happen), high food prices, health care when I retire, my teeth falling out, terrorism, running out of baby powder. I’m also a little worried that I might be a bit neurotic.

When this first started, I thought it was related to my children being born. But clearly this goes beyond just my kids. It finally dawned on me that this is due to age. I’m getting older and I’ve had more experience, and it’s easier for me to see all the things that could go wrong. I think being a writer plays into this as well, because being a writer means I have a very active imagination.(But then I worry my imagination isn’t active enough!)

As there is very little I can do to control most of these possibilities (except maybe flossing and brushing more frequently to protect my teeth), ignorance truly is bliss. But as soon as I think that, I start to worry about the things that could go wrong that I haven’t thought of. And then I start to worry about the impact on my health of all this worrying.

(I’m also really worried that nobody’s reading this blog. And then I start to worry that maybe one of the people who is reading this blog will stalk me. Because with all my other problems, I really need to have a boiled rabbit left on my doorstep.)

What do you worry about? Do you worry about bloggers who worry too much? I worry that you do.

 

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The Real Reason I Adopted A Parrot

I’ve started thinking about death again.  I’m coming up on the three-year anniversary of the death of a friend next month, another friend of mine is dealing with a loss right now, my parrot died a year ago this month, and oh yeah, the Apocalypse was supposed to happen yesterday.  I’m actually surprised I’ve gone this long without thinking about doom and gloom.

The Fauxpocalypse doesn’t merit additional discussion here, and my friend’s grief is her own.  But I can speak to my own experiences.

When people first met my parrot, I used to joke that he’d outlive me, that I chose to have a long-lived pet so I wouldn’t have to face his death.  But I wasn’t really joking.  I was trying to cheat death, to dodge that burden anyone who has owned a pet with a brief life span has faced.  I didn’t want to have to take this buddy to the vet and make a hard decision.  He should have outlived me by a large margin.  He didn’t.  But he died before I could take him to that final vet visit, before I had to make that hard choice.  He spared me that much.

My friend’s death was completely unexpected.  Her husband, another friend, called to tell me.  Shock, pain, horror, disbelief.  My wife and I still have moments where we can’t believe she’s gone.  She was a sweet woman, a wonderful wife to my friend, and we miss her dearly.  We flew out to support my friend.  I did my best to be there for him.  I served as a pall bearer.

There is something to be said about funerals and closure.  The act of putting a person in the ground really brings it home that they are gone.  I remember after my grandfather’s death, reaching down into the hole and putting my hand on the box containing his ashes, saying goodbye to him as the earth cut off all other sound.  He was gone, and I felt like I’d done right by him, being there.

That was a long time ago, but helping put my friend to rest, carrying her for that last journey, even straightening her husband’s collar and tie shortly before leaving for the funeral, felt the same way.  Like you’ve done the closest to the right thing that can possibly be done when someone dies.  It’s not a good thing, a great thing, or even something to be celebrated.  It’s a duty, a responsibility, an honor.

It also takes a really long time to accept.  You never recover from the death of someone close to you.  You get used to it. You become accustomed to the weight on your shoulders and don’t notice it most of the time.  And if you’re lucky, you don’t face another death before that adjustment period ends.

I think about my surviving friend, about the huge void torn into his life, and I can’t imagine his pain.  But at the same time, I CAN imagine it.  I’m a father and a husband.  I know my parents are mortal and I don’t like it, but I know I’ll face their deaths someday.  But the thought of outliving my wife or kids, that’s the sort of stomach-churning dread that keeps me up at night.  It is so unthinkable I simply can’t face it.

Some deaths no one should have to face.

 
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Posted by on 23 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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