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.

Cling

Cling: (v) to hold on tightly

I cannot explain the choices I make in the middle of the night, when suffering from a bit of insomnia and flipping through the channels on television.

In my conscious mind I am trying to find something that’s boring enough to put me to sleep. Therefore I often stop at religious programming.

Just a couple of evenings ago, I landed on a program with a preacher who had a Georgia drawl, explaining why he was not afraid to die. He became very emotional, citing that he knew he was going to go to heaven and spend eternity with Jesus. Surrounded by the dark room and feeling very impressionable in my nighttime skivvies, I nearly believed him.

I wondered why I didn’t feel that way.

I don’t want to die.

I don’t think it sounds interesting.

I get teary-eyed thinking of a world without me.

I can’t imagine how my friends and loved-ones will survive. (Maybe that’s why the Pharaohs locked all their cats in the tomb with them.) I digress.

I cling to life.

I am not a hypochondriac, but if one is needed, I can do a pretty damn good impersonation. Why? Because every breath, every pain, every trickle in my system makes me suspicious that it is the precursor of a wave of destruction.

I think it’s foolish to say you believe in a God who made a beautiful Earth and then to be in a hurry to get away from it, thinking that the upgrade will be an improvement.

I like Earth.

I like people–even when they’re unlikable, because then they’re a puzzle.

I like being around.

I like what happens when I’m around.

So I cling.

Whatever seems to be full of energy, vitality or just the general circulation of the blood, I support with all my heart.

It is time to admit that I am an Earthling who will need to be evicted to get me to leave my particular duplex. Perhaps my Creator has set aside a place for me in a spirit world which is beyond my comprehension. I cannot cling to that.

But I can cling to faith, hope and love.

These are the three things that matter. These are the three things that make Earth sweet.

And these are the three things that make me so glad that I’m still alive with people like you.

 

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Census

Census: (n) an official count or survey of a population

Every census is shortly thereafter followed by a tax. This began with Caesar Augustus in the Christmas story and continues today.

We want to find out how many people there are so we have some idea on how we should divide up the horrific amount of expense that’s involved in the process of us being people.

It’s a fussy way of reminding small towns that they’re shrinking and becoming less important.

The government can also determine where to send its money, and where the census tells them there aren’t as many voters, so no need to be nice.

It begins at an early age, when you plan a party at your house. The following Monday morning, after the party, the normal question is, how many people showed up?

Did you do a head count? Was the party successful because people had nothing else to do so they came to it?

No one asks if the chip dip turned out tasty. What flavors of pizza did you select? Was the discussion lively?

No. It all has to do with numbers.

We are a society obsessed with proving the value of our concept by collecting statistics on how many people are aware that we had a concept in the first place. We fear obscurity.

Yet no one enters the tomb with a companion–no census in the grave.

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