Dita Parker

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Have you heard the news: We're all gonna die! No? No wonder. There is a whole industry out there, several actually, to negate the reality and inevitability of death. Mortality is still at a steady one hundred percent, but you wouldn't believe it watching and listening to the Merchants of Eternity. For the sake of brevity, I will call them Moe.

Why the sudden moebegone? My firstborn was very quiet after a visit to the cemetery. Then: "I don't want to die, Mom, and I don't want you to die, or Dad to die." Without going into a deep philosophical discussion, I tried to explain that I'm afraid we'll just have to, but if we take good care of ourselves and each other (and if we're very, very lucky), we'll all still be here fifty years from now. I didn't promise not to die anytime soon and I'm glad I wasn't asked to.

That calmed my child some, but we spent the rest of the car ride in silence. Back home the kids started playing all business as usual. They're children; they're gifted that way. They don't wallow in a past they don't yet have, they don't trouble themselves much with a future they cannot envision. As for us adults...

You're not doing yourself any favors thinking about dying, not all of the time. But avoiding the issue altogether may be even worse. It's bad for you, but it's big business for Moe, and he'll do everything in his power to convince you that you don't have to go. Death and taxes; remember that ol' maxim? If you can evade and cheat on the latter, why not on the former as well? Moe wants you to give it a try, to give it everything you got.

So we embalm ourselves alive in the hopes of taking ten years off. Wear what our daughters wear and giggle at the 'Sisters?' nonsense. Drive at 50 what we dreamt of driving at 15. We'll still be fifty, but who's counting. We certainly aren't, and we wish everyone else would stop crunching numbers. They're only numbers, right?

Your back and knees start suggesting you might be mathematically challenged, but there are all kinds of ways to shut them up. Medicine, religion, science, philosophy. Pick one, pick each and every one, have a field day, throw in a parade, and Moe will try to see it doesn't rain. Keep pushing those clouds away and ten years from now, or fifty, when you know you're a goner, you'll find yourself standing in the receding tide watching as the mother of all tsunamis approaches.

And you'll be pissed. Think about the last time you went all-out two-year-old and multiply it by a thousand times. That is how pissed you will be. You will feel cheated. You purchased all the antidotes your money could buy and it didn't make a lick of difference.

No use calling Moe at that point; he won't be in. He's cashing in on the new crowd. They haven't heard the news yet: We're all gonna die!

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