Life & Death > Death On A Wednesday

Death On A Wednesday

By GREG MAFFETT
Published: June 3, 2010

That caught me by surprise, the whole dying thing. I'm sure I've died many times before in many bodies. Cosmically speaking, it was just another day at the office. And from a writing standpoint, also no big deal. My brother and I both started writing our books after we read Bukowski's Run With the Hunted. We both glanced out of the corners of our eyes and said "You know, we could do this..."

And just like Buke who seemed to manage to generate a new book every year after his death, here I am a mere 24 hours after after the um blessed event? Yes, here I am.

Let me refresh your memory for those of you who haven't died recently. It works like this. Ok, it works like this for me. Perhaps you die differently. But for me its always the same. Death is a hand. A hand that I fit in the palm of. It knocks on the door, I answer, we exchange unpleasantries and it starts to squeeze me. Eventually all the air is out of me and I fall to the floor.

My death is much like me, I'm sure yours is much like you. I'm always attracted to shiny things. After my last breath, I'm no longer shiny to death. Death sees a skydiving magazine on the music table. It wanders over, gets all flushed and decides to get airborne.

Once gone, I find I can get 1/20 of a breath of air in on my first try. Within a couple minutes I'm breathing normally. You'd think I'd be good for eternity using this approach, that death would check me off and forget about me, but no, it forgets it killed me and keeps coming back every few years. At some point there won't be anything shiny nearby and that will be it for me.

I would not say I scoffed at death in the past. Its more on the continuum between a giggle and a chortle. Not so much a case of invincibility as it is a priority scheme. I always figured there was someone higher than me on death's to-do list than me.

I help death all the time in this regard. When I surf, I always make sure there are other surfers between me and the place where sharks come from. In skydiving, I let someone else jump with the hungover pill popper. I don't think death cares where it works on any given day, so I just find him a place outside my cube.

But now, I don't know. Now I'm thinking I'm moving up the list. This last one didn't leave me much to work with. I had just rearranged those magazines about an hour before death came a calling. Otherwise...I'm not so sure I could count myself among the living dead. I'd just be another one of those dead dead people.

All I'm saying is I took this encounter seriously. By my standards, I have gone through today like a dead person. I usually work out 3-4 hours a day. I haven't missed a day of yoga in 14 months (that includes the day I was doing asanas at Dulles Airport after snowmaggedon earlier this year.) But today I have done nothing more than walk from my car to my office. And even that left me coughing up a lung at the top of the stairs to my office.

I'm Ok. I know that because I can stand upright at 5 PM. This is a huge improvement over Wednesday where the day looked like one of those evolutionary charts played in reverse. I started Wednesday on my hind legs, by midday I was dragging knuckles. Come dinner time I was ready to slither back into the ocean.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing, this afterlife I have going on. I mean sure, I do have some serious questions about the quality control program that Death has going on. I suspect there is a government agency looking into this as this type of work will surely bankrupt social security. I half want to say "not my problem", but half don't want to waste the breath.

Here is how I see it. Its my family curse. My brother got stone smashed about 30 years ago, went rock climbing and took a 30 foot fall. Death wandered off to check out some feldspar and he was fine. My nephew had his triple spinning malfunction in Arizona and hit the ground at 60 mph. There death took off to check out some petroglyphs and the kid is right as rain.

What I'm saying is this. My kin grew up ghetto people. We've always been at the bottom of the just about every list in life. I used to complain about that.

But not so much anymore.

Any Comments?


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