Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Eye Socket Of Death

“So many of these poor dead people spent their whole lives placing their faith in God, thinking that there’ll be this bright shiny light when they die. But after their last breath, the moment the shiny light is supposed to be there, it isn’t. But they’re dead, and they don’t know that the light isn’t there.”
-Marcy, from the novel Save Me, Rip Orion


My three-year-old son Uri is playing in the backyard. He is scooping pebbles with a gardening shovel, dumping them in his toddler-sized wheel barrel, pushing the wheel barrel across the yard, and then dumping the pebbles into a heap. He does this again, and again, and again. "Uri," I say, "are you having fun?" He smiles and says yes. I understand that had I been doing the same activity at this point in my life I would not be having fun. Shame. I'd quickly get bored doing something so mindless, so trivial, and so primitive. Surely I engaged in such childish activities as a three-year-old, and had a helluva blast. I come to a sudden depressing realization that I'll never again enjoy scooping, transporting, and dumping pebbles. Those days are gone. A part of me died a long, long time ago and I never even knew it.

Do you care what happens to your body when you die? Yes, you get to chose what happens to your body. Weird, huh? You can't chose where you toil 40 hours a week or where your tax dollars go in life, but yes, you get to chose the fate of your corpse. Your eventual lifeless clump of tissue in an immaculately hemmed suit could be buried with so many others on a hill,* or blasted into the emptiness of space, or placed atop the Festivus pole on the front lawn of City Hall.

So what? You’ll be dead when any of it happens. 

That the living—some of them, anyway—actually concern themselves at all with the fate of their corpses flummoxes me. You can’t take it with you. (Spoiler alert: You ain’t going anywhere, anyway.) That a lifelong patron of, say, G-Strings Gentleman’s Club would dictate in his will that his cremains be scattered on the stage seems a little bit too forward thinking. Guess what, Chuck, you’ll be too dead at the time to enjoy your final pussy romp. Besides, don’t you think you’ve already spent too much of your life splayed on that grimy stage?

Better yet, Chuck should request that a folded bill be wedged between his buck teeth during his open-casket viewing.** “Ol’ Uncle Chuck. He is in death as he was in life…perverted.”

My body? Once I die, I'm just a prop, like a toy gun or a friggin' vase. I'm an oversized paperweight. That's life…a countdown to becoming a paperweight. Perfect! Use my corpse to hold down reams of insurance claims.

The humanity in me says I should chose to be harvested for parts. Give my guts to the suffering. But the practicality in me doesn't care. I won't be around to receive thanks from she who my kidney saved, or to know the pleasure that accompanies prolonging a life. So have some fun with my leftovers, I suppose. Put my body in a giant catapult at the fountain at Point State Park, point me toward Oakland and then let 'er rip. Take bets that I'll clear the skyline. Imagine the sheer wonder in the eyes of an innocent child when my flaccid corpse bounces off the US Steel Building or lands atop an uptown fire hydrant. Shoot a hole in my forehand then toss me into the Ohio River so my waterlogged body washes ashore on the banks of some Appalachian burgh miles downstream. The locals will have something to ponder besides whether the meth fairy will leave a stash under the pillow, or maybe, just maybe, the coal miner's daughter is in the mood for a redneck gang bang. Or, I could be utilized as a hood ornament on the Just Ducky Tours aquatic vehicle. "If you look to the left of the bloated carcass you'll see the historic Allegheny County Courthouse, completed in 1888." Hang me by my feet above the buggy tracks at Ghostwood Manor at Kennywood. The stench of rapidly aging death will add to the authenticity.  

As for my soul? That's mine forever to frolic in the Enchanted Lollipop Kingdom with the souls of others who sincerely believe in the everlasting Lord Tootsie. His name be praised, and His sweet, sweet torso be licked forever and ever.

*Seriously, don't bury me in a dreadful cemetery next to, say, Kurt and Judy Turnheir. I deserve better, and so do the Turnheirs. What an arcane and barbaric conceptdesignating an expanse of Earth as a cadaver junkyard. Isn't it time to mature as a race and convert cemeteries into water parks?  

**Viewings! Ugh! What's worse than an assortment of grim and solemn people waiting in line, like at the breakfast buffet at Denny's, to blubber over (or gawk at, if you're under the age of 12) Aunt Gertrude, who's caked in three (more) inches of makeup? The humanity! 

I don't want to grow old with you. I'd rather us die together in a hail of revelry before receiving a single spam email from AARP. And when Death does disrupt a feral rumpus in the late August riverside overgrowth, we'll accept what has come. We will. He'll move to tap us on the shoulders—gently, like a loving mother with a terrible secret—but we will laugh. We will. When he tilts his head—puzzled—we wallop him with beached driftwood. He never sees it coming. His ribs pop like firecrackers under his dark black robe. He drops his sickle among the briars and collapses, hard bones on squishy moss. We laugh, louder still, and lord above the felled intruder. He wheezes dust as we slide his hood backward. He feels it crawl, millimeter by millimeter, atop his head. I squeeze your hand. You squeeze back. Then I skull fuck the bugger. The touch of death—we die—my dick in the eye socket of Death.

We leave outta' here on our terms. That's right.


I am alive. I am alive. You are too.

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