Sunday, May 30, 2010

What If...?

Sometimes the simple, unqualified truth of my position screams back at me with such clarity, that I'm hard put to understand how people can see things any other way :)--

At work this morning, somebody happened to mention this latest round of famous/near-famous/once-famous celebrity deaths we've been experiencing the last few weeks or so. "Yeah, they've really been dropping off lately" I remarked, to which one of the young ladies replied with a shrug, "Oh, well...that's the way it happens. Everybody dies, one at a time." On impulse, I returned with the question "What if everybody dropped off at the same time? Seems like that would be a better way to do it, yes?" Her reply was a terse "no", accompanied a rigorous, staccato shaking of the head not unlike Seinfeld's refusal to taste Poppy's culinary offering after having just seen him leave the bathroom after wiping his ass without washing his hands.

Now, consider the question's ramifications. On the one hand, we have the following scenario-

SCENARIO #1. Everybody drops dead, either one at a time, or once in a while in relatively small groups. Sometimes sudden and unexpectedly, but usually after some degree of personal suffering ranging from the slightly less than trivial to the extreme. But even for the bright, shiny penny who abruptly joins the choir invisible due to a hitherto undiagnosed heart ailment in front of the bathroom mirror whilst brushing his or her teeth, there's still the suffering of loved ones to consider, not to mention the Paparazzi! (in the long run, of course; although a cost/benefit analysis would probably have to be run on any individual case for anyone keeping book). Parents and spouses left bereaved. Children left orphaned and destitute. Creditors left cheated. This is the course of the existential play as it stands. Each actor walks onstage, performs whatever lines he finds anonymously scribbled on the back of his hand, then exits via the Macbethian formula, more or less.

And what's the justification for this? As Maricella, the roly-poly Mexican lady at work explained it one day to me, "Well, Yimmy, ees like this. Ees peoples' yob to be born, then have cheeldren, and then die." Can't argue with that logic, I guess.

Now, on to scenario #2.

SCENARIO #2. Everybody drops dead, all at once.

What's the problem? Where's the dilemma? And while antinatalism can't offer quite the existential tidiness of scenario #2, it CAN offer sort of an abstract equivalent designed along the lines of the kind of vicarious immortality I rail against so often on this blog, namely- EACH of us would be able to identify him/herself with the LAST generation. But much, much more than that, the generation that chose to end all the suffering of humankind through the simple mechanism of abstention from procreation. Wow! THAT'S what I want on my tombstone!

Now, the world don't succumb to the beat of just one drum.
What might be death for you, may not be death for some.
A man is born thinking he's the man.
Then along comes the Reaper, shittin' all over his plans.

But they got, Diff'rent Strokes (ischemic, hemorrhagic)
It takes, Diff'rent Strokes (embolisms and aneurysms)
It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to kill the world, yes it does (my head hurts!)
It takes Diff'rent Strokes to kill the world! (or sometimes we fall into a woodchipper, or get stung to death by fire-ants, or just rot away from the inside, literally or metaphorically...not sure which one is worse. And as an added bonus, we get to watch it happen to many of those we love before it happens to us. Yay!)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Book Update

The word's just in from my mother. She hated it. My first negative review!