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Dying in Retrospect
by Michael S. Collins

We will all die someday. Very cheery thought I know. It’s like you sit watching time go by and things happen just out of the corner of your proper vision, and you don’t really pay attention to it? You know how you check up the news pages and it will say "25 die in Submerged Boat" and you never take it in. That’s a whole twenty-five people gone, and yet it’s such a mindblowingly massive thing, that we can not properly take it and so it moves from our mind. People dead....but we never knew them, so it will pass. Someone somewhere does not have that benefit.

Which is why it comes as such a shock to our system when someone we know dies. There not suppose to do that! How dare they shatter our views of invincibility! And I suppose it is alright if it’s like a 90 year old grandmother, or Joseph Furst who was 94 and had a good life, but what of the prematurely dead? What about Douglas Adams, Curt Hennig, Ross McWhirter and many countless more? Death came, took, and we lie in their wake. We don’t like it, because it reminds us of its inevitability. It will come, when we least expect it, and we have no chance to do anything to prevent its eventuality.

I've always taken it for granted that I probably won’t live to see a pension. A lousy attitude on personal safety coupled with an almost amazing addiction to vices (Jack Daniels, vodka, and donuts) and weak health is no doubt an exceptionally unhealthy combination. So, if we take it as read that premature death should be, as dad forever warns, expected. Well, who wants to live forever anyway? The show must go on. (And enough of this Queen throwbacks stuff). It’s not the length of the life involved, it’s the length of the experience involved in the life.

And so what do we learn from all this? Well, I'm now twenty and therefore ancient. I ask you this: How many people have I made a positive life-changing impact on? I can't honestly think of any. If, god forbid, my lungs gave up tomorrow and I ceased this mortal coil, how many god honest people would be effected for more than the "Oh yeah, him" recognition. Just an acknowledgement of the name, a shrug of the shoulders and a pass on to other news items. Yes, I fear being forgotten, but that’s par for the course: the idea that really nothing would change that much if it happened. I have no interest in dying for the now; I have FAR too much work to do. Books to publish, countries to save, you know the stuff. But to what end?

But you know, Martin: that was no excuse to push the damn button, you idiot! I tell you, see if we ever survive Armageddon, I’m going to kill you!