Thursday, June 21, 2007

Never Say Die

Strange things get to me. The scene in last night's "Rescue Me" where the probies cancer ridden mother is begging him to kill her so she can die with dignity... a commercial that shows a typical hospital monitor beeping, and then shows it flat lining (it was something to do with finances, of course)... the fact that when I was driving to Thatcher's (an Irish bar where I live) I passed an old Dutch Reformed Church, and realized for the first time that it has a massive graveyard in the back.

It is hot and humid in Jersey tonight, and the haze was rising off the road in a form that made it foggy on this one street. Through this fog, I could see the headstones rising up from the ground, and just knowing that there are dead people that lay there, so close to the bar I frequent so often, unnerved me. A chill ran up my back as that knife was dragged down my spine again, I realized that there are so many people that have lived before. It seems that way sometimes, that we are the first ones that have loved so passionately, fought so mercilessly, and held the hope that we will one day be better then we are. The rest of the world's history fades from view, and we only have our little lives, our little microcosms, to deal with. We think that none before could ever feel the way we feel, do the things we do... but it has all happened before. In all liklihood, there is a man buried somewhere that lived nearly the exact same life that I led- the same heartbreaks, the same triumphs. He may be famous, or he may be obscure. Either way, he is there.

During that commercial last night, a thought crossed my mind that I may well one day be in a hospital bed, and watching my own heart monitor beep, the last semblances of my life raging to keep alive. I hope one day that I can be like my buddy's grandfather, an old WWII ranger who watched the blood come out of him, but was able to smile and say, "I'm ready to meet God." My own grandfather will die like this, as do all men with heavy religious convictions. They are more fortunate than those of us who doubt, who realize that we are but a heartbeat away from hell, and that I could well die tomorrow and, if the haggard priests are right, burn in hell for eternity for not believing, starting tomorrow night.

Sometimes I think that this life is but a short one, but then I realize how much I have seen in my 23 years, and decide anything much longer would be murderous. My own best friend, my brother, lies under a headstone that I have never seen, never visited.... he knows all the secrets that I so dearly covet, all the answers to the questions that drive me to the bars every night. I imagine it sometimes... I think it is dark gray, with the words neatly carved in, a testament to my friends existence. Never have I seen a family member's name on headstone- my Irish grandmother seems to refuse to recognize that people die, and so is more than willing to ignore the gravesite altogether, only finding it because she knows that they're "buried between two Italians." Her father used to take her for picnics in the graveyards when she was young girl, walking between the headstones with food for the dead.

Does it seem like I'm obsessed with this? It should. I'm fucked up. The reaper hangs his schythe over me, I see it's shadow everywhere I go. Never wonder why I am as intense as I am- I have learned too quickly, too many times, that there is no tomorrow. God may not love you tomorrow, your parents may be dead tomorrow, the things you love dearest could be gone forever tomorrow.

I could be gone tomorrow. What comes after, what this life means, what it does, why it happens how it does.... these questions are why I drink.

1 comment:

BH said...

Too bad you aren't in CA. We should have a pint (or 20).