I haven’t thought much about death of late. This is unusual for me, because—as is the case with Woody Allen—I’ve spent much of my adult life obsessing over it. Recently, however, I’ve been a little more at peace with the finality of that last breath. Truth is, the worry about death ends as soon as you’re dead. There’s something OK about that.
That said, today I thought about death. I had just woken from a nap. The room was quiet and pretty dark. It popped into my head—You will be dead for eternity. You will no longer exist. Ever.
I hate that thought.
I actually believe, though it usually goes unsaid, much of life is about driving death from our minds. From music to TV to film, we’re all trying to distract ourselves from the unavoidable termination of our beings. The more alive we feel while blasting a T.I. song, the less dead we feel. Christianity sort of relies on a similar trick—if the afterlife is talked up and talked up and talked up, what’s there to fret over death? That’s the power of the church, in a way. It has a hold of your soul, whether we even have souls.
Sometimes, when I obsess over death, I long for death. Does that make any sense? It pains me so much to worry about eternal blankness that I wish for eternal blankness. Weird, right? It hurts me that my children, and their children, and their children will one day cease, just as I will? It hurts me to picture them reading my diaries (I’ve kept one since 1996) and trying to piece together who I was. Or ignoring my diaries and not giving a shit. I don’t particularly care about legacy, because we’ll all be forgotten over time. But I hope someone’s sad when I go. At least a little.
I’d love to hover over my funeral, because it’d be a fascinating collection of people from my life. Then again, maybe nobody shows up, and I’m just depressed. Recently I was listening to a taped interview I did with my late grandmother in 1992. She was 80 at the time, and spoke of how fast her life had flown by; how she couldn’t understand how she was suddenly a senior citizen. Approaching 40, I know exactly what she meant.
How about those Jets?