Friday, July 24, 2009

Fear Of Death - or - If It's Gonna Be That Kinda Party...

I’ve decided to never fear death again. I wasn’t very afraid of death before making this decision, but I think it’s a note worthy addition to my existence. It seems like an important step towards being a man. So I’m going to try it. I’m going to stop fearing death. There is no mystery to it. We all die. Don’t complain, just enjoy the ride, let loose a yell, dig your nails in and try to stay on it as long as possible.

What spurred me to this decision?

1) There I fixed it dot com. Just look at how much fun these non-death fearing folk are having.

There is no doubt that they know that power strips and pools are a bad combination, but when you want to drink beer in your three foot deep inflatable pool and cook hotdogs in the middle of it on your George Forman knock-off grill, are you going to let death get in your way? Fuck no. Not as long as those flip flops float and there are still beers to eat and hot dogs to drink. Not that I think that this is a good idea, but going through life with bright orange floaties and shatter proof safety goggles on at all times means missing out on the really fun stuff, the adventures that take you outside of the world of “safe and sound” and into “breathtaking and wondrous.” A good friend of mine recently fell while rock climbing in the Grand Canyon. He was lucky, after falling fifteen feet, bouncing off a ledge, then falling an additional thirty feet, and basically landing on his feel like a cat, he realized that not only was he still alive, but he was also mostly unhurt. He tried to stand up but instantly realized that he was not quite as unhurt as he originally thought. His climbing partner took off to go get medical help, and after waiting eight hours with nothing to keep him distracted from the pain but a few quarts of water and a pack of smokes, his climbing partner came back with a first responder from the park service. Snider, that is the lucky fucker's name, was then drugged up and put into a morphine induced state of bliss until the next morning when he was heli-vac-ed to the local hospital and treated for minor cuts and two broken bones in one of his feet. Oh it could have been worse, broken neck, broken head, broken life, but his life could have been a lot more boring had he stayed safe and sound and watched Voltron and Lost and never experienced the years of fun he has had climbing, not to mention the years of fun he will have climbing once he gets back onto the rock, which he will do as soon as he is healed up. Hope you heal up soon, Snider, you lucky mother fucking mountain goat.

2) Irrational fears. I have a friend who is deathly afraid of birds. She hates them. I’ve asked why and the answer is always vague and end up along he lines of, “they make me uncomfortable with there tiny eyes and their flippy flappy wings and,” then there is a lot of shivering and flailing about with disgust, “bbbbbbbbbbbbur. I hate them.” I love birds and can’t for the life of me understand ornithophobia. They are freaking birds for Christ sake. Spiders are awesome. Snakes make me giddy. I’ve come face to face with reptiles, moose, wolves, bears, and naked drunk rednecks with shotguns and have never been afraid for my life. It seems pointless to be afraid of animals, as they mostly just want to get the hell away from you. The moose I met in the woods snorted at me as he cantered by me. I think he was saying, “duhhh, get outta my woods, jerkface.”

A person is born with only two fears, fear of falling and fear of loud noises. We obviously get over these fears quickly as every one-year-old I know loves being held upside down and tossed haphazardly into the air, and they also absolutely love banging on pots and pans and making as much noise as possible. Birds aren’t scary, it’s what makes you afraid of birds that is.

So if being afraid of harmless animals is pointless to me, being afraid of my inevitable demise seems even more pointless. I know I’m gonna die, I have no idea when, where, or how, but there is no reason to stop living as full a life as possible to avoid the inevitable. Just as it is pointless to stop going to the beach, or the park, or anywhere outside because there are seagulls and pigeons out there.
Wait a second. I am deathly afraid of Hippopotamuses though. Maybe this is why. Fucking hippos. Bbbbbbbbbbur I hate them!

3) Heaven Or Hell. I don’t believe in them. There are just too many loopholes. Who says if you get into heaven or not? St. Peter? No, he just has a list. God says so, but according to the last rights, if you renounce evil and take Jesus into you heart, you can be saved on your deathbed and you can head off to heaven, no matter how much of a fuckstain you've been all your life (doesn't that kinda defeat the purpose of being good now?). And according to God, the consequence for adultery is being buried up to your waist and enduring a good hardy stoning, then it's off to hell with you. See, I thought a half hour of crying and shame in the shower with a brillo pad was enough. Maybe that's not funny. Maybe it's funnier than I care to admit, but in all honesty, I could use a touch more of the ol' sinful acts. The real reason that I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell is because it is eternal. Forever. And ever. And ever. Eternal damnation? Really? For not loving God, the holiest of dotted outlines with a question mark in the middle? The most divine scooby-doo puff cloud? I mean, it would be a lot easier to know that he loves me back if he would send me a friend request. I once shat in my neighbor’s lawn because they kept calling the police on me and my band while we were rehearsing at two in the afternoon, in the basement, playing jazz. It was while I was eating entirely too much fast food, so it might have been overkill, but does that mean that I am going to boil in a river of blood for eternity with the likes of Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun as penance for violence against my neighbors. According to Dante, yes, but probably only up to my ankles. On the other hand, Eternal Divinity? Sounds kinda lame after a while. So you get to fly around on the clouds and play with harps in a beautiful serene place where there the weather is always perfect and there is no trouble and no worries and everyone is happy and relaxed. Doesn't that sound a bit like a pilot retirement community Sedona? I lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world, surrounded by tranquil nature and peaceful wilderness for miles and miles and miles, and I got wanderlust and left as soon as I could. I can't imagine an eternity with all my dead family and friends (the ones who haven’t shit on their neighbor’s lawns) nagging me to clean my room, get a job worthy of an angel of my abilities, get married to some nice specter and settle down, by my own cloud, have some cherubs. Then there is the worldly possessions thing. In heaven, you can have any possession that you could possibly desire... without sinning... which is where I lose faith. I want sextuplet headed dildos and a pack of dirty women to use them on. I want heavenly orgies that last for millenniums. I want heavy metal bands, and flamethrowers, and fast cars, and chicks in leather bikinis begging to get me off, and corndogs. Lots of corn dogs. I want Olympic sized pools full of jello and oiled up porn stars in snorkles and tiny tennis outfits. I want titties everywhere I go. Big titties, small titties, round titties, soft titties, bouncy titties, firm titties, black titties, white titties, brown titties, green titties (thanks, star trek!), young titties, middle aged titties, fuck it, even old floppy wrinkled titties. I want titties titties titties. So if I get to heaven for being good while I'm here on Earth, and I can have any possession or pleasure that I can dream up when I get there, it raises the question, can you go to hell for having too much fun in heaven? "Sorry, Obsquatch. You have lusted after every woman in heaven. Time to burn." But I spent sooooo much time being soooooo good to get here so that I could get what I really really wanted! Not fair, Santa! Vice versa, can you go to heaven for doing good deeds and loving your neighbor in hell? “Hey buddy, I see that those damn demons keep chucking spears at you while we float in this river of shit. Hide behind that guy Bob Flannigan. Yeah, the guy with “Super Masochist” cape and the steel nail through his dick. No, that’s not his penance for being a pervert, he does that shit for fun. I hear he likes the pain. Oh crap, my good deeds in hell have resulted in my being saved. See ya in a few years, I’m off to get kicked out of heaven again for grabbing too many holy boobs.”

4) Karma. Ok. I believe there is some validity to karma, but not because there is come cosmic set of scales hovering in the ether, doling out rewards and punishments at random intervals to do-gooders and evil-doers. And I’m certainly not afraid that my life will be threatened by some backlash of Karmic comeuppance for not putting down the toilet seat. I believe in Karma but in a far more physically observable manner than the whole “universal balance” thang. I think you display your Karma like you display a bumper sticker. If I like being a total douche to others, I probably also like show off my “No Fear” windshield decal and my “Give War a Chance” window sign. And I will probably inspire the wrath of drivers who think that being a douche is, well, a douchebag move. If I was a total raging bitch, I might display it with my “My Other Car Is A Broom” or “Being A Crabby Bitch Is Part Of My Charm” or "I Haven't Been The Same Since That House Fell On My Sister" or, God forbid, all three bumper stickers. And if that were that case, fellow drivers might just steer clear of me because I put forth that bitch-ass-mofo mojo, but I might also rightfully give a No Fear fuckbag the verbal abuse that he truly deserves for being a total douchepump, which in the end makes the world a better place. Now, If I like giving and receiving oral pleasure with sexy girls on road trips, I might sport the “Support Road Head” magnet on my bumper, and let the chips fall where they may. As it stands, I’ve only ever put one bumper sticker on outside of any of my vehicles, bikes and skateboards included. In fact, this one bumper sticker has graced the rear bumper of all three of my autos; the first two were pick up trucks, one baby blue, one emerald green. The bumper sticker reads, “Charlie O’s – World Famous.” If you don’t know about Charlie O’s then you must be learned. My brother, never to be outdone, has slapped this lil’ beauty on his truck. “God was my co-pilot, but we crash landed in the mountains and I was forced to eat him.” What does this have to do with fearing death, or Karma for that matter? Honestly, not much. But it does prove that what you might mistake for cosmic balance is actually the world reacting to how you represent yourself. If you act a certain way only for the potential of that action benefiting you in the end, you are living your life the right way for the wrong reasons… and you should die.

5) There is so much I will miss, and so much more to see. Nah. I won’t miss anything when I’m dead. I think it just goes blank, and the energy that we use and create in life, transfers back into the Earth via decomposition, or is transferred into heat as I am cremated. The electrical impulses that once made up touch, smell, pain, fear, love, thoughts, dissipates into our surroundings, like lightning striking the ground. Whatever consciousness it was that made me aware of myself and all of my surroundings, whatever personality that made me “me”, just simply blinks out, like a film ending. There might be knowledge and memories stored in tissue of my brain, joys and fears, desires and regrets, but they will be inaccessible because the force that was driving, that one thought line that I consider to be me, has let go of the wheel and is busy transforming back into the energy from which it came. Back to the carbons, proteins, and minerals that all my parts are made of. I will become air, and water, and soil, and sugar. I will be in plants, and animals, and other people, and in the clouds, and in the rain, and in the ocean, and in the mountains. And maybe there is some molecule, some atom, some entity that is Obsquatch, some type of capsule that holds my identity and thoughts, but I won’t be sad that I’m not this person, this entity anymore. I’ll be happy to be eaten by a worm, or soaked up by a tree and turned into a blade of grass, only to be eaten by a deer, who is shot by a drunk redneck with a shotgun, and cooked up and served to friends with beer and whiskey, and then shat out on a neighbors lawn, and eaten by a worm.

For the parts of us, all the tiny tiny parts of us, there is no end when we die. There was no beginning when we were born. There is only a thought line that makes us who we are, that makes you who you are, that makes us think and love and cry and desire and laugh and feel pain and joy. And to spend any time fearing the end of the thought line is as silly as not wanting to keep reading a good book because at some point it is going to have a last chapter, a last page, a last line, and finally, a last word. But you should know, in almost every good book I've read, it is never the last word that is the most beautiful.


  1. I think that the thereIfixeditdotcom dudes are the real no fear junkies. I don't know if that necessarily translates to having no fear of death or of having no fear of a very painful electrocution. One is an aversion to high pain and agony, which is more tangible to sentient beings, while the other is a more intangible thing that is quite subtle and harder to truly test. Maybe one does imply the other, but to me, a genuine fear of death would manifest with an old dude on his deathbed really freaking out. But ok, forget this. Living life to the fullest has always been one giant problem for me. The reason being that this world is filled with thousands upon millions of worlds of adventure, each different in nature in some way. Ultimately it's in the mind. The reason why a sudden mountain climb would be exciting is yes, it is a new world of experience, but it is also change and something that takes advantage of our natural instincts. So while it does make one happy, it is only because there is a reason for this happiness relative to the person - one's state of mind at that point. Not everybody will find a mountain climb exciting for a wide variety of reasons, from not being much of an outdoors person to not liking exercise ... so yea, a fat nerd. Similarly, active introverts might prefer the conquest of climbing a mountain and just being alone with the world. This person might prefer other aspects to the climb at first not obvious - it might be a spiritual experience. In any case, something drives them forward to have this experience.
    So people come in different types. Some would love to have a life of perpetual experiences that can be appreciated quite naturally, that could end up teaching them a lot of things and conversely, other people could prefer to spend their life teaching themselves of richer hidden worlds not fully appreciable by the senses at the start, that could end up being quite an experience. I have no answer as of yet as to which way of life is better as both are adventures of a different kind. Both take you to unknown territories (and put you out "there"), and both at the right moment force you to change and face your fears. Both test you and make you grow. It's just that the zenith of each personality's development is different I think, which makes the difference in preference from person to person. I can't imagine anything transforming a man making use of scientific thinking to revert back to some other less rewarding thought system. The personality develops one way on the basis of a pronounced experience. If a person had a very strong outdoor experience kayaking or whatever early on in their lives, he or she may just live to be a thrillseeker. For this person, going back to a more quiet and reserved state might be unthinkable. I'm rambling. But my point is that I don't have a clue as to what constitutes a right way of living, or whether anything one does particularly makes them more "alive" than another. And this is on the basis of momentary experience alone. Whether we like it or not, certain long term plans are absolutely necessary. I don't mean that in a way to help procrastinators delay the work for today, but rather to accept that certain achievements cannot be had in a day or week or even a year with the hardest of efforts. It still is living for the day mind you, but only sustaining the process till the end result comes to fruition (the end result may not be one thing, but could even be a state of mind. Perpetual improvement might be the goal... which really has no end). This can be anything from running a business to a work of art.
    Anyway, if you can resolve this in any way, I'd be glad to hear it.

  2. Lupine, you shock me. I lined you up, man. Five headed dildos and strippers with flamethrowers and corndogs, and all you want to talk about a mountain? Is there always that grinding sound when you shift gears?

    Your point is well taken, the "fullness" of a life being lived to the fullest is relative to the one living it. Climbing a mountain, or several mountains, in the winter, at night, with a overstuffed pack full of Dinty Moore beef stew and dirty whiskey, well, to me that is paradise. I escape from the noise, the light, the traffic, the people, all of it, and have only myself and the people I chose to be with to make sure I make it to the next cabin to pop open that bottle and share some laughs around a woodstove, surrounded by the cold and dark of a winter mountaintop. Self exploration doesn't need a mountain though. A good book on a comfy sofa by a fireplace is living life to the fullest. A symphony enjoyed with your eyes closed. A glass of wine on the porch, or a walk on the beach during a thunderstorm. A trip to the Art Institute where you get the stink eye from the lady behind the ticket counter after handing her your ten-year-old student ID which features a picture of you with long hair and overalls and a stupid looking smirk you couldn't recreate if your face was make of playdoh, all just so you could save a measly $5 to stare at Ed Hooper's Nighthawks at a Dinner. Anything that excites the senses, invigorates the mind, creates interaction or conflict between people or even just in yourself is what I would consider "whooping it up." My brother rafts down the Grand Canyon and climbs glaciers and wouldn't be happy without such thrills. I prefer hiking, biking, and writing about torrid angels. You, sir, get to choose what going all out means to you, what living to the fullest actually entails. But not trying to find out what get's your rocks off because you might fall, you might embarrass yourself, you might die, that is a waste of a good life. That's why I unplugged my TV.

  3. I read it all motherfucker.. It was lovely. I wish you'd written more. I don't know why, but every time I scroll down, I do so with a certain amount of trepidation that the posts will run out and I won't have anything new to read from that deliciously nasty mind of yours.

    Just keep writing, will ya?

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