Sunday, June 13, 2010

In which I think. Try not to fall over.

I’ve been reading. And thinking (dangerous combination, I know). Book that sparked the thoughts? Lionel Shriver’s So much for that.
If you’ve not read it, I’ll try not to spoil the ending; I started to get the shape of it in my head before it arrived, but it wasn’t so saccharine as it might have been. It has made me question the dollar value that, increasingly, western society places on life. I’d like to believe that life actually unto itself has no value; it is, after all, what we each make of it.

I can’t sell you days of my life for you to have and enjoy, I can’t buy more days for myself, but increasingly this seems to be the perception of our immortality-obsessed culture. Death has become something to be put off, an inconvenient appointment rather than an inevitable endstep in the process of living. All the platitudes of loss (how careless!) and passing (because we really, REALLY don’t like that D-word) and expressions of regret…

Yes. People die. It’s sad. It’s not, actually, a tragedy. It’s not the thing to fight and avoid. Certainly, it’s sometimes not fair, but then what in life is?

Lying on the couch last night, juggling my bony spine across my husband’s knees and picking up the pug so she could trek across us with her usual land-rover determination (hey, two people on a couch are rocky terrain when you have no legs to speak of), I announced, “So, I’m hearing all these ads about organ donation, and I just need you to know that if I’m hit by a car tomorrow and wind up braindead, my organs go places.”


“Sorry, I was thinking about the tournament. Your organs what?”
“If I get hit by a bus,” (obviously he needed a more dramatic picture) “My organs. Go. To other people. You know. They get my bits. Because you’re my husband, so you’d have to make the decision.”

“That’s a bit dangerous. You’re always braindead in the morning. Can I have your bits?”
(I didn’t point out that he’s the one who sinks back into a coma at the first available opportunity, starting awake again with “Wha-?” nine minutes later, while I grumble and threaten to kick him should he do it again.)

“What if I need them?”
“You’re not even the same blood type as me. What blood type ARE you?” (Clearly idiotic, in light of what came next)

“Don’t know. What blood type are you?”
“Hm. Don’t know.” (See? I’m BRILLIANT. I should know, but I’ve forgotten.) “So, organs. You?”
“Yep. Other people can have your bits. I guess other people can have mine too. Yeah, take ‘em.”
“Buried or cremated?”
“I don’t care? What do I care? I’m gone! Whatever’s best for the environment.”
“So, you want tea?”
“Yeah, sure.”

Awesome. It’s so nice to know the really tough decisions can be made in about three minutes between Thai takeaway and Earl Gray.


Linda McIver said...

that's the biggest laugh I've had in weeks. Nicely put. Thank you. :-)

Kez* said...

:) that's the way these things should be handled