i think he'd concur...

gandhi. mother teresa. janes dean. marilyn monroe. janis joplin. jimmy cagney. j.f.k. martin luther king jnr. bob marley. samuel beckett. john lennon. pearse, connolly and mac diarmuid. jimi hendrix. both of my grandfathers. i could list loads more but iíll stop here and ask you what all these folks have in common. if you said theyíre all great, brilliant, bitchiní people who all made a tremendous mark on modern society, youíre right. if you said theyíre all dead, youíre also right, and as that was the answer i was looking for, you get a gold star. you see, my point in making that list is to show no matter how frickiní powerful, rich, sexy, or loved you are, sooner or later youíre gonna bite the dust. EVERYBODY dies, though most people would rather not (and rather not even think about it) and as you go through your life, every day one step closer to your demise, you get to watch everyone else around you keel over. in your lifetime, you will likely see the deaths of your parents, your grandparents, your plants, your older brothers and sisters, some of your friends, countless actors and actresses, and at least 2 or 3 presidents or prime ministers. your pets will all eventually die. your spouse or partner might die. even your children might die. and there ainít a goddamn thing you can do about any of it except get into your best black suit, consume copious amounts of alcohol, and cry like an infant.

so why am i writing about this, you ask. why am i even THINKING about it? frankly, i do not know. i donít usually sit about ruminating on mortality, but now that i am, iíve come to the shocking realisation that i really donít like it. death is a destructive force that only really serves one purpose...to take away your loved ones (and in the very worst case, your SELF) with little or no notice. okay...so maybe it serves more than that one purpose...among them controlling population size, but how many of us really think about THAT whilst shouldering the coffin at our best mateís funeral mass? fact is, the overcrowding of the earth isnít an issue that directly touches our lives, but death IS, so it might be a bit selfish but hardly irrational of us to think weíre suffering because of it but not reaping any of itís benefits. and honestly, if you claim to accept and embrace death for the great, population-thinning wonder that it is, i believe you are either a) mad as a fuckiní hatter or b) a filthy, holier-than-thou liar. but thatís just MY opinion. having said that anyway, let me proceed.

i donít know WHY iím so surprised to learn i donít much care for death. god knows iíve never handled it all too well. as a kid, it and all itís corollaries were my main sources of amusement. hell, some of my best early comedy work was done in the local cemetery and my cousin-in-lawís funeral home (the first in the town, mind you...weíre ever so modern ;)), leaping out of coffins, crypts, or even waiting open graves for the sole purpose of scaring the bejaysis out of innocent passerby and partaking of the sheer hilarity that went with it. later on, when iíd discovered the wonders of fake blood and stage make-up, i entertained myself by convincing people i was a full-fledged living dead lad, or at the very least, mortally wounded, again just for the comic value of their reactions. disrespectful? yeah. insensitive? sure. totally immature? most definitely. but as some famous psychological-type bloke whoís no doubt dead himself by now probably once said, it was my way of handling an issue that actually scared me more than it did my "victims". i donít do stuff like that anymore (well hardly ever) but death still makes me do some pretty weird things. luckily for me, my family has caught on and treats me accordingly.
for instance, my eldest sister and i have been the designated reading-people at family funerals since the passing of my paternal grandfather back when i was 10 - herself cos sheís a trained speaker and me cos...well...honestly cos if i donít have something to do i act in a most bizarre and uncivilised manner. some might argue that i too am trained; was already debating on the schoolís team by the time my grandfather died; and seeing as the rest of my family either suffers from paralysing stage fright or speak with such godawful culchie accents even THEY canít understand each other, i was the only other logical choice, and i NEVER behave particularly civilised, but iím not stupid. i know why they pick me. and to be honest, iím grateful, as so long as iím reading from the book of revelation, iím not giggling like a fruitcake, telling lame jokes, having an asthmatic attack (and mind you, iím not even asthmatic), or craving jammie dodgers. and i donít like making an ass of myself any more than they like watching me do so. but as thatís just the way i handle grief, fear, and any other uncomfortable emotion (if there are any iíve left out) the only thing they can do is keep me as occupied as possible and hope for the best.

but i digress.
what iím trying to say is death is bad, and i canít emphasise that enough. i obviously think it is, my whole culture does (and NONE of us handle it all too well...thatís why weíre always stocious at wakes and beating the shit out of each other...takes the focus off the REAL issue)...and the americans hate it so much they try not to talk about it or even THINK about it at all. but really, people, why do you think everyoneís so bloody terrified of grey hair and wrinkles? cos with them comes age, and with age comes death. i mean, god knows iím not of the age yet where iím terribly worried about these things myself, but it HAS crossed my mind when i look at my grandmothers, 94 and 97 years of age. theyíre positively ancient...been here forever...great-grandmothers the both of them, and the elder of them about to become a great-great-grandmother any day now. theyíve lived full, fantastic lives. and the freaky, horrifying, hideous part is theyíve both said theyíre ready to die. now, okay. maybe you really do reach a point in your life when youíre honestly that okay with it, but i have yet to get to that point, and while they might be ready to head out into the wild blue yonder, selfish grandson over here isnít quite ready to let them go yet. the idea doesnít really appeal to my parents, either, and something tells me when the day finally comes to say good-bye, the lot of us will STILL end up being caught unawares. ideally, iíd like to have my nanas till IíM 97...but...well...lifeís just not that kind. i guess if i REALLY think about it, iíve been lucky to have them THIS long.

okay. now that iíve sufficiently depressed the fuck outta myself and no doubt out of you as well, iím gonna dash. i have this overwhelming urge to ring my nanas... :)

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