Condemned to death; waiting for execution … of the sentence. I’ve been here quite a while already, 78 years in fact. Some have a lot less time to wait, just a few years, months or even hours; kids die all the time. It’s pretty hard to say anything original or even worth saying about the brevity of life and its inevitable end. But now that I know that I will be dead, for sure, within at most fifteen years (give or take a decade; it wouldn’t matter much even if I had a whole century ahead of me), I have to wonder what was, what is, the point.
You know, of course, that I know there is none. Some soap-bubbles last longer than others, none for very long. And every one of them bursts. I’m a fleeting shadow, not even a blip on the radar of the 14 billion years of the world’s history and the 200,000 years humans have peopled this puny, pretty planet. No one to thank, no one to blame. I just AM – for the time being. (“I am who am” – surely the weirdest name anyone ever gave “God” – who, being No-Body, had No-Thing to do with it.)
I must admit it’s been a ball. Really ! I have to be in the top ten percentile who have made it this far, and have been so damned lucky that it just isn’t fair. I mean I have never broken a bone – mine or anyone else’s. I’ve never been in prison, though my first job was as a jail-guard for juvenile delinquents. I have never had a serious disease or even illness, apart from a banal heart-attack which a triple bypass took care of ten years ago. I have never been truly hungry, never fought in a war, never even suffered from invasion, bombing, persecution, torture, terrorism or violence. Never had a serious accident (I did fall off my bike once). I was able to enjoy the benefits of a somewhat unusual education as well as the pleasures and satisfaction afforded by my profession(s), travel, music, literature, cinema and the company of people I love. My parents were not well-off, but I am. Not filthy rich but comfortable. After an interval of self-imposed celibacy, I had and have a normal sex-life. Divorced but the father of three marvelous children and Grandpa to five gorgeous grandchildren. I’m feeling, if not looking, my age, but not yet senile, handicapped, immobile or dependent. I should stop before I make some readers very rightly jealous.
It makes no sense to ask why I was born or why I have lived so long or why I have been so fortunate. Recognizing the pointlessness of those questions was one of my greatest liberations. For fully half my life I have enjoyed the greatest freedom of all : no longer believing in God and the promise (or threat) of an “after-life”. My story will soon be over, and whether I’m remembered and missed or not, I couldn’t give a rodent’s rear-end. I would like to think, though, that some people, especially the family and friends to whom I owe so much, were happy to have known me. The others, the ones who couldn’t stand me, will at least soon be able to rejoice that I won’t be around to bug them anymore. I won’t even post any more ravings like this on my Blog. Blogs, like their authors, come to
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