Friday, July 10, 2009

The Hiatus Life

I've been giving a lot of thought recently to my mortality. There's been some long livers in my family, like Grandma still going strong at 104. But there's been some short livers, too, shorter than that. Like Grandpa, who was only around 80, who went peacefully in his sleep, or maybe he was cracking hickory nuts at the kitchen table, I don't remember. And I'm sure we've had some, like one of my great uncles in Chicago, who was killed by a jealous husband when he was in his '40s. You just never know.

When I'm thinking about this, it makes me feel like having all the time off I can. And that's part of the reason being on hiatus is so important to me. Because I could be working like a dog and suddenly keel over. And that's no good. The only good thing about work is that they pay you for it. But then you spend the money to buy work shoes so you can go back to work. So it's a vicious cycle. And the place you work for, they don't care about you anyway. If you get mangled up in a punch press, they put you in a car and roll you over a cliff, then coerce the other employees to keep silent "Or you'll be next."

If you told one of the people working there they only had two months to live, they'd thank you, immediately quit, and really live. But the thing to do is quit now and really live. Why work just so you can afford work shoes? Stay home. Go barefoot. Live it up. Time is shorter than you think. Quit, and if you can't think of what to do then, just sit and stew and enjoy yourself.

As for me, I don't know when my time's up. But it's coming. Everyone's time is coming. It's as sure as having a number. When your number's up... I've heard people say that, how it's not in your hands. We don't know when. And nothing we can do will speed it up or slow it down.

If your number's not up you could play on the interstate, frolic out there in the middle of the night in a black suit, camp, sleep, whatever, you're not going to die. But if your number is up, you could be living in your doctor's guest room and it wouldn't do any good. (The fact that most people who play, frolic, and camp on the interstate do indeed die only proves that their number was up. So it could be that you can have some knowledge of when your number's up, in that if you do extremely dangerous, stupid stuff like that, your number is getting close.)

I don't know when my number will be up, but I don't think it's all that close. I have a good self image, I'm optimistic, and I don't engage in a lot of exercise that only saps your strength. I made a great choice going on hiatus. It's calmed my nerves to the point that I'm only a frantic wreck on the average of every other day. Before, it was like half the time.

Think on your own mortality, then guide yourself accordingly. Sometimes in life, like if the doctor tells you that you only have two weeks to live, you have to really pack it in -- life -- before you really pack it in -- death. To think, you're not going to be here. That you'll be stretched out in a metal box on satin cushions, your suit slit up the back and your lips sewn shut. It's almost too much. Someone could make millions with a simple Velcro lip fastener for undertakers.

All of it's something to think about.

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