this time now, if i hadn’t lived through the 80s/90s/aughts as a gay man in the time of the plague, is when my contemporaries will begin to drop like flies. the paper is suddenly filled with the death notices for ____ _____ who died at 5_ of __________ and leaves behind his loving wife of 35 years and 5 kids, numerous grandchildren and the odd spinster aunt or the occasional widowed uncle. it gives you pause.
when your heart skips a beat (and whose doesn’t, i ask you?), you think to yourself, “is this it?” and of course, it isn’t, but you think it regardless, because now is the time for all good men (especially the men at this age) to come to the end of their lives.
when that escalade swerves in front of you on the freeway going god-knows-how-fast and you think to yourself, “is this it?” and of course, it isn’t, but you think it regardless, because now is the time when you find yourself contemplating the end of your days. (and here, particularly, in southern california, my one fear is dying on the freeway, anywhere lord, but on the 5, i pray–and i’m not one who talks that often to god, but should there be one — or a goddess — please deliver me from death on a freeway at 75 mph. is that too much to ask?)
when you stand up too fast these days and all the blood drains from your head and you think you’re going to drop to the ground in a heap of limbs — and will you wet yourself, you always have to pee these days anyway, it would only be fitting that as death claims you, you would piss all over it. who’s laughing now, you black-hooded, scrawny, scythe-carrying bag of bones? well it won’t be you because you’ve died. that fucking last laugh.
this time now is when i start to think about my obituary. should i prepare one, of course, is the top concern–it just seems more practical that way–this from someone who has spent the majority of his working life manipulating language to sell something. i know i could trust m. to do right by me, but what if he’s gone too, would there even be one?
what would it say–“robert patrick died yesterday after a long battle with life, his own as well as that of others. he leaves no survivors (as if it had been a ship-wreck of a life, all lost at sea.) patrick leaves a considerable legacy of prickliness, obsequiousness and the bad habit of speaking the truth. it is known that he loved several dogs during his lifetime and at one time a parakeet. his career in the arts was his passion and his last request was to be cremated with his beloved 1400 page copy of paintings in the louvre. no flowers please (he was allergic) instead he requested that donations in his name be made to father flanagan’s boys town.”
“if the unexamined life is not worth living, the unexamined past is not worth possessing; it bears fruit only by being held continuously up to the light, and is as changeable and as full of surprises, pleasant and unpleasant, as the future.” –brendan gill via this link.
don’t be surprised if one day i say, “i told you so.”