Dead

Dead: (adj) no longer living; deprived of life

This can’t be the definition: “No longer living, deprived of life.”

Simply stated, the definition of “dead” is “not breathing.”

For I will tell you—I meet people all the time who are no longer living and certainly seem to be deprived of life.

But they’re still sucking up air.

And they’re often taking that air to spray the contents of the room with negativity, prejudice or snobbery.

Long before we die, some die.

And if we’re still alive when we stop breathing, there’s very little about us that can truthfully be dead.

If our name evokes a smile, if reading a bit of correspondence we sent brings a tear, and if our picture on the wall hearkens to jubilant times, it’s hard to pronounce us dead.

No tomb exists for brilliance.

So what kills us?

What causes us to give up on living long before we give up on breathing?

On the other hand, what would prompt someone to desire to stay alive to the centennial birthday, just to bitch and complain about living conditions?

So I don’t know whether elongated breathing time is a blessing or a curse. If your life is miserable, it is extending the misery, which may just be simulating spending three days in hell.

And if you’re overjoyed—on your way to make love and change the world—and you get hit by a semi, your breathing is snuffed but your living soars on.

I have no desire to be philosophical in this matter and I’m not trying to root out an existential truth to make you think I’m deep and cerebral.

I just choose to believe that dying happens when we stop breathing.

But we can never truly be dead if we have a grasp of greatness …

… and a sense of the significant.

Chlorinate

Chlorinate: (v) to impregnate or treat with chlorine.

Sometimes I don’t know if things have improved since I was a boy–or if I was just a little wimp-ass. In other words, I have memories of
some activities being very difficult, odd or unusual, which in my life today, are common.

One of those would be a swimming pool.

When I was a boy of ten years, I went to the local pool in my Central Ohio area, and when I got near the water, I couldn’t breathe. The odor, the chlorine, the mixture of too many people–I don’t know what it was. But my head spun and I thought I was going to faint. (For God’s sakes, you can’t faint when you’re ten years old–unless you plan on being the kicking post in your school for the rest of your life.)

Stupidly, I reached out, thinking it was my brother’s arm, and grabbed onto a thirteen-year-old girl, who immediately screamed. When the lifeguard came running up, she explained that I had accosted her, and with my head still spinning, I was unable to contradict her story.

I looked loopy.

The lifeguard came close to my mouth and insisted he could smell cigarettes, so it was assumed I had become dopey and out-of-control by smoking, and had attacked this young girl at the pool.

The worst part was, as my punishment, the lifeguard made me sit on a chair next to the pool for a full hour, as I breathed in the fumes and became weaker and weaker.

But eventually I got used to the atmosphere and it no longer felt like I was sniffing the air on Venus.

Chlorination seems to have improved over the years.

Or I have just stopped being a flag girl for the marching band.

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Air

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Air: (n) the invisible gaseous substance surrounding the earth, a mixture mainly of oxygen and nitrogen.

I am a better person when I think about air.

I am more valuable to myself when I appreciate what I breathe and cease to act like a spoiled brat, contending it’s insignificant.

I remember the first time I went to a hospital and required oxygen. I didn’t know I needed oxygen–the doctor explained that the air I was breathing and how I was processing it was not producing enough restorative energy to make me feel good. It sounded stupid. That is, until they hooked the oxygen up to my nose, and within five minutes, my head cleared, I found myself breathing deeper and was completely in the midst of a rejuvenation.

Little did I know how much I needed more air … until the lack of air left me verging on a quiet desolation.

Now, I realize we can become silly or obsessed with appreciation. But candidly, I think very few of us risk that posture. We are much more likely to become jaded and sarcastic.

I don’t know how God came up with the right mixture of oxygen, nitrogen and other inert gases to place within the breath that fills our lungs fifteen to forty times a minute.

But the stuff works.

Stop and think about that. How many concoctions do we use every day that only partially fulfill their promise?

But air just keeps delivering the goods … and has eight billion satisfied customers.