November 1, 2010
Over the weekend I found out that one of my friends had cancer and had to have surgery. Last month I found out a friend from high school has been fighting leukemia for the past 2 years. I have two friends who were married and divorced. I have friends who were diagnosed with high cholesterol, eating disorders, you name it. It’s a sad realization to know that I’m hitting the age where those statistics you hear on TV, or at charity fundraisers are becoming a reality.
Back when I was younger, the statistics were simple: “98 out of 100 people you know are healthy as a horse.” I never did understand that saying though. Horses don’t get sick?
Now it’s more like 75 out of 100, in 10 years it’ll be less, and in another 10 years not only will it be less, but the statistics will be more grim. It won’t be about failed marriages or too much red meat. It might not even be about fighting cancer. It’ll be things like “One in 6 people by heart attacks” or ”One in 10 from a stroke.”
I don’t think about death too often. It’s just not a pleasant thing to think about. It’s not that I’m afraid of dying. I mean what is there to be scared of? I don’t believe in a hell. How can there be eternal torment if you are already dead? Pain and agony is kind of meaningless if there’s nothing to back it up. You’ll just get used to it. And if it’s just total oblivion afterwards, then… oh well? Can’t really complain about nothingness.
No.. what scares me about death isn’t that it’s going to happen to me, but rather that it’s going to happen to the people around me. That at a snap of a finger, the people I care the most about and mean the world to me can just be gone. To me that finality, that end of opportunity, is more frightening than the most gruesome of hells.
I don’t like the idea of people around me becoming statistics. Points and percentages next to some 1-800 number on the TV screen, or on some stupid slideshow during a fancy dinner. When I was younger, I wanted to be a superhero so I can save the world. These days the only people I want to save are the ones I love and care about, and the only statistic I want them to be is the portion of the population that lived a long, long fruitful life without any regrets. Other people can go fill in the rest.
You know… I’ve become quite the selfish bastard over the years.