Like an emotional tornado, another birthday has left a path of destruction in my psyche. After a wonderful time with family I lie in bed staring at the ceiling wondering how many I have left. I came up with seventeen, if I’m lucky. I based it on very specific scientific data. My left ear lobe has grown two millimeters. A sure sign the end is nigh. When you get down to it and do the math it’s not a pretty equation. And yes there is something wrong with me for doing such a calculation, but you knew that already. Psychiatrists have a name for this: coo-kooism. In German it’s Loosenroochsinmitthead.
Thinking about my own demise is nothing new. Even as a kid I worried about it. And who would blame me when they build the monkey bars at my school over a parking lot? I’d pictured myself slipping off and splitting my head on the cement. Hey, it isn’t my fault it’s the asphalt! I don’t have a death wish. I have a life wish. But wishes don’t come true, unless of course it’s a death wish.
I had minor surgery about a month ago, very minor. My wallet became permanently attached to my ass for lack of use. The wallet that is, not my ass. During a typical test beforehand they took some blood. As I lay there I couldn’t help think ‘this is it. I go in for some routine fix and they find elevated white cell blood count, a strange anomaly, or something far worse’. I’m not one of those brave sorts that could handle that. I really admire the person when faced with such news to carry on for the family’s sake. I’m taking a completely different route.
The day they tell me I have something terminal that’s the day all hell breaks loose. The first thing I’m going to do is not wear my seatbelt. And it doesn’t stop there. I’m not looking both ways when I cross the street. I’m eating dessert first and then if I have room my dinner. I may even start smoking a pipe. Not just any pipe. One of those huge Sherlock Holmes mothers you can see from fifty yards away. And I’m going to let my hair grow too. Since I lost most of it that ought to be interesting. I’ll look like a six-foot, two, land anemone.
Next, I’m going to go through my studio and find the ugliest artwork I have and personally hand them out to people I know but don’t really like. I’ll tell them my sad story about only having weeks to live, and how much they mean to me, and blah, blah, blah. What fun I’ll have looking at their faces stare at this crappy art wondering what to say to me. Then I’ll tell my friends this plan and give them art. The second tier kind that’s slightly better and look at their faces that tell me “did I get the crappy art or is this the good stuff? I thought we were friends?” I can hardly wait…whoa, I take that back.
When the end is near, I’ll sell all my possessions and live my remaining days as if it was a Burning Man festival. I told you, I don’t expect to go with any kind of dignity or self-control. And I’m okay if I don’t need to live a long life. It just needs to be longer than my dog’s, a few choice family members, and the guy who cut me off last week on the I-25. Is that asking too much? Maybe I’ll give myself a present this year and not obsess about it. Maybe.
Be on the look out for this artwork coming to you sometime not so soon, I hope.