Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Death and Dying

About 18 years ago I was asked to do a favor for my boss. She had a friend who had an intense manifestation of Lupus, but despite all the difficulties she endured, this woman continued to go to school and was at the time working toward her P.H.D. She (I'll call her Linda) needed help with desktop publishing and the layout of her thesis (entitled Perceptions of Death and Dying.)

Linda and I sat side-by-side for quite a few hours as we worked on her document. We shared many a philosophical discussion regarding people's fears of death and dying. I remember clearly deciding that it was worthless to fear or worry about inevitable death, but instead had plenty of fear regarding the unknown of HOW it would happen.

That fear of HOW it will come about still stays with me today. The first way that pops up in my mind is I don't want to be one of those people who have a coronary whilst sitting on the pot involved in a rather extreme BM. I am sure this IS the way it will be only because i don't want it to be so.

Another fear was that I would drive off the side of one of those high-in-the-sky single-lane overpasses. Years ago I had a front tire blowout while driving on one of those ramps. I managed to maintain control and get safely to the side. That day almost completely dispelled my fear of dieing with that MO.

It is along these lines that at the ripe old age of 21 I came upon one of Vonneguts books that had contained within its pages a suicide booth. A place one could go to comfortably die when they felt damn good and ready to do so. I have thought him to be a genius ever since.

I'm not sure where this was going...but had to write it down anyway.

In retrospect, I should probably add that I am NOT ready to go just yet :)


mike macgirvin said...

I like the old Carlos Castaneda philosophy, but I'm probably showing my age - essentially "You're already dead. Get over it.".

Michael-Ann said...

Yeah... I like that too. I also liked his thoughts on "not-doing" in Journey to Ixtlan :)

Cheryl said...

I have always feared that I would be one of those "spontaneously combusted" people...where you see the picture of feet inside a pair of scorched fuzzy slippers in front of the toilet covered in soot and ashes. I think something went seriously wrong with our potty training.

mike macgirvin said...

Yeah, what's all this fear of dying in the bathroom? And nobody mentioned the obvious - found hugging the porcelain after a few too many bottles of ta-kill-ya. Nah, I fear getting abducted by aliens and then getting bounced out the craft at altitude for making a wisecrack about their toenail fungi.

Becky C. said...

Wow--should I get philosophical.

I climb mountains--it might even be a bigger passion than sex--or even blogging. Anyway--I don't just climb--I seriously do it--and all the time put my life in danger--which is pretty crazy for a Mom of a young child. Several of my friends have been killed climbing.

Mountain climbers don't really talk about it at all--except at camps--and we wouldn't there if there was TV to watch. But, I have learned that in that area of the highest mountians is something known as the death zone. It is where the air is so thin there really is no life. If you are there very long at some point it dawns on everyone I think that death may be the norm, and life is just a dream that death lets us have for a brief period of time.

I take two things from that. The first is that without death there is no life and it is important to have good sex as much and often as possible.

So, since we have to die--having sex would be the best way to do it. Although this usually only happens to old farts who have a coronary when humping their mistress--I intend to aim for this demise.


Biddie said...

Hopefully ruling out the possibility of some kind of car accident, I sense that I will know when death is approaching and will have some time planning "stuff".

I found fascinating Becky C.'s comment about high altitude air/oxygen being so thin that life can't be supported. As a "used-to-be" scuba diver, the opposite is true. The pressures at depth are so great that oxygen becomes a poison to our bodies. We, as a species, are really rather "trapped" into living in a relative narrow band of conditions - thank you dear old Earth for allowing us consistent enough conditions that we can each follow our own personal journeys for some appointed period of time.

Michael-Ann said...

Allright! Becky, you are a shooting star (albeit a horny star)! You never fail to make me smile... I wish I had half the energy that your words convey.

I am guilty as charged for thinking your blog profile description about mountain-climbing was a euphemism for gender-preference :) To find out you REALLY climb mountains... I am in awe!

I use to do quite a bit of cliff-diving in Perdernales State Park near Austin (mainly to confront fear) but there was a line of height I just could NOT cross. Standing near the edge of one of the highest cliffs in the park would make my head swim and my stomach do backflips.

Okay Cheryl, so definitely there seems to be a genetic connection regarding a malfunction in development during the anal stage. What to do, oh what to doo doo about it?

I'm jealous of Mike's anticipated space-plank-walk. I wonder, would you be inclined to let them probe you first BEFORE you started in on the wisecracks about the 'shrooms a'twixt their toes????

and Mom, I agree, life is an exquisitely-orchestrated, simple and-yet-so-deliciously-complex gift from that cosmic indian-giver. What a prankster!

Shelli said...

thank God you added that comment at the last (not ready to go yet)!!
but if, God forbid, you were to "go" on the pot, let's hope it's a black one! LOL

Cheryl said...

I simply refuse to wear fuzzy slippers, thus avoiding that fate.

Michael-Ann said...

ha ha! And I keep a copy of my will in the 2nd drawer down from the top of my bathroom cabinet...ya know, fer any last minute revisions I might think of on the way out :)

Michael-Ann said...

i'm kidding of course.

JaneDoughnut said...

No there's no reason to fear death itself. I find I worry more about the coming death of others than my own.

And, with a touch of humor, I've already decided how I want to go. I want to get smushed by a meteor or asteroid. That would be awesome.

mike macgirvin said...

Probe first? Well I'd have to agree with Becky there. If I'm gonna' get tossed out into space anyway, might as well do it with a smile on my face.

Cheryl said...

Have any of you ever heard Sam Kinison's take on death, where his body is laying on the slab and here come the necrophiliac? That's what I think death will be...
OOHHH It never ends!!!!

Michael-Ann said...

Jane! SMUSHED BY A METEOR!!!! :) I think that does take the cake... think of the extraordinary odds against that?!! The immediate transition from life to otherwise would not be so bad either.

Mike... okay, I'll have to admit a slight agreement with you and Becky as well...perhaps in theory it would be nice to go out in the blazing glory of some form of ultimate rapture.

HOWEVER, My luck would be that the fear of the moment would make the "ol gal" dry up like death valley, the lube would be at home under the pillow, and my cohort in crime wouldn't be able to get-it-up under the pressure anyway.

Michael-Ann said...

...and so then we would instead have to opt to perform the most heart-rendering sing-a-long of "The Sound of Music" that anyone ever heard (or not.)

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