Let me ask you a purely academic question: Hello?
— Dean Blehert

Monday, December 19, 2005

Ramblings - 1

Someone mentioned a very heavy acquaintance who'd "lost all of it" -- all the extra, that is. But that would be a fair description of death: A diet where you lose all of it.

Odd, the fear of death. Some years back, with an insane diet and lots of exercise, I lost about 70 pounds. I've since found nearly every one of those pounds. If only all my loses could be so easily repaired!

Just a couple more years, another 175 pounds, and I'd have lost it all. Neat! Even at 175, I felt lighter than air, seemed to waft up flights of stairs. Perhaps, if I'd lost another 100, I'd have needed ropes to pull me back down to earth. Ropes or bread or heavy thoughts ("Heavy, Dude!").

Speaking of death, someone wants to pay us a visit to explain to us (now that we're in our sixties) insurance that covers the expenses of being old. (In case we ever get old.) I will try, for once, to be pleasant and unshocking and not to say what I usually say when someone with a warm, salesmanlike gleam in his eye asks me what I'll do if I'm too weak to get out of bed, need months of hospitalization and/or home care, etc. What I usually say is, "Well, if that occurs, I'll die."

That never seems to go over well. Certainly it is my intention, if I become a burden to myself and others in this body, to leave it behind and find a more operable one. I'm not talking about "suicide". Why be so dramatic? I'd just let the body die. "Give it a rest, will you!" -- that about expresses it. How does one let a body die? It can't be too difficult. We all do it eventually. Probably the simplest way is to go somewhere else: Vote with our spiritual feet.

After all, a body is a service provider -- amplifies sensory input, marks the spot where we pretend to be, etc. Like any service provider, a body must compete with other providers, new ones going into business every minute of every day. When a body takes all one's attention and gives little service (can't see well, can't hear well, aches, refuses to move, etc.), one should take one's business elsewhere.

I don't think it will be hard to do. I've had some practice (won't go into details -- might be charged with negligence of a body or contributing to the delinquency of a spiritual being). After all, the questions presuppose that I've gotten myself in terrible shape, fixed up my body so that it can hardly move -- just enough to breathe. If I can do all that, the rest should be easy.

Imagine the savings to Medicare and Health Insurance premiums if more of us had this attitude: What do you do when your body is a mess and you can't do the things you'd like to do and your systems are all shutting down? Hey, you die! But wait, you say, that's too simple! With the miracles of modern medicine, we can be kept barely alive until the next miracle drug is available to make us nearly as healthy as a constipated zombie for another 2 years!

Hell, by the time modern medicine has able able to sit up in bed long enough to puke and operate the TV remote again (to see reruns of Law & Order SVU), I'll be in a fierce, healthy 5-year-old body, kicking over piles of building blocks. And I'll be a bright kid, because I won't have moved from lifetime to lifetime in a haze of modern medical miracle drugs. (They affect more than just bodies.)

Medicos and other "experts" (a word for which, if we didn't already have them, we would have to invent sarcastic quotation marks) assure us that the will to live is vital (that's redundant, given the meaning of vital), that people die when they lose their will to live. Imagine how much quicker we'll die when we simply decide to die. I don' t mean to be negative or anti-life. I have nothing against living other than some of the people one has to live with, the taxes, psychiatrists, lawyers...well, I have a lot against living, but not against life. But I see no benefit to me or others in keeping a dying body going. Why stay in the trap once the cheese is used up?

The body is primarily a communications device. When it can neither give nor receive (nor hope ever again to give nor receive) communications, junk it. Perhaps I should qualify that: When it can no longer giver nor receive communications of interest to self and others, junk it.

The nicest thing about this attitude is that I don't worry about all the terrible things waiting for me in my golden years. (Gold doesn't tarnish. We should call them the silver years.) What if this, what if that? What would I do then? All those woulds that are dark and deep and unlovely. What I'd do then is die. Wouldn't you?

Getting born is probably considerably rougher than dying, but we've all managed it. And will again.

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