This week, death is in my thoughts. Unlike most, death is something I (and my family) are intimately familiar with. Since the age of, oh say, eleven or twelve I have had to deal with the fragility of life in all its many stages. My grandmother in her twilight, my sister in her dawn; other family and friends representing the ages in between.
Nothing makes me more depressed than considering my own mortality. I never want to die. Not out of fear of what lies beyond (no point in getting worked up over that) but rather because I want to watch the grand drama of history unfold. I want all the knowledge of the universe open to me. Death, in my mind, is the closing of a really good book before everything is resolved. Well, closing the book and then tossing it in the fire, after which the ashes are buried in an undisclosed location under six feet of soft peat.
If given the chance I would go full prosthetic. No, not cut off my limbs and replace them with the cheap imitations commonly issued. Replace my whole body with a machine. It has not been done, and likely won't before I finally shuffle off, but it's nice to dream.
So, what has me in such a morbid frame of mind this week? Well it seems that celebrities of all types are dropping like flies this month. Nate Dogg, Elizabeth Taylor, and just today Geraldine Ferraro are but three examples of famous people who've died in recent weeks. There are so many that it defies that old assertion that celebrity deaths come in threes. Then couple that with the fact that William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (Captain Kirk and Mister Spock of Star Trek fame) both turned 80(!) in the past week. (Before you ask, yes I am still a Star Trek fan though I haven't done more than watch the odd episode of Enterprise on SyFy in recent years.)
Why should celebrity birthdays and death dates concern me so much? Because when the rich and famous die it is a blantant in-your-face reminder that eventually the cold hand comes for us all. There is no escape. As the old saying goes the only certainties in life are death and taxes, and when someone who can buy a small country keels over the idea is reinforced that much more. Well, that and the twenty-four hour coverage of the corpse on CNN. They love dead celebrities during slow news cycles. But I digress.
What about when they have birthdays? Especially for ages sixty-plus? You are reminded that even your icons are mortal and that time has them under the screws just as much as you. Yeah, some of them will defy average life expectancy, even tell death to kindly wait a few more decades (I mean YOU Dr. Hawking), but eventually all of us experience that sinking feeling when we hear about a favorite celebrity's death.
Just to be clear, I haven't really been fans of any of the people who recently died, but they did get me going on this tangent.
Give me a good anonymous war in some distant corner of the world. Genocide I can deal with. It's impersonal. It is cold facts. Individuals you know and love to some degree are much harder to push out of mind with logic.
Well, that's enough rambling for one week. Maybe next week we'll do some fiction excerpt. We shall see.
Until next week, be excellent to each other.