Let’s get this over with, in case you haven’t figured it out yet. All the doomsday prophets and street corner preachers are right. The world, your world, is ending. You are going to die. In fact, here are some possibilities:
- A very painful decaying disease, like leprosy, will consume your flesh (though, it’s unlikely).
- You will fall into a frozen lake, get trapped under the ice, and suffocate in frigid water.
- There’s an electrical shortage in your house which starts a fire and turns you into a charred piece of meat.
- If you’re young, you’re most likely to die from an accident, probably from doing something stupid, like playing highway chicken with a friend while texting and putting on makeup (so don’t try it).
- You could also kill yourself, but don’t do that until you read the chapters on killing yourself.
- If you’re older, your main options for dying still involve stupid things you do to yourself, mostly related to food, booze, and cigarettes. Your own heart will get sick of being treated like crap, and therefore quit, killing you.
Bottom line: 150,000 people die a day. You’re turn is coming in the next minute, decade, or century. So what are you going to do about it?
Take a moment and imagine yourself lying in a casket. Watch as the top comes down over you, locking you inside the dark, airless chamber, while your family and friends stand around and resist the urge to check their phones. Within hours, you are lowered into the ground. Dirt is dumped on top of you. A headstone is dropped down to mark the place where you will be forgotten. Your body stiffens and begins to rot. Bugs and worms appear as if out of nowhere and commence their feast. Your pretty eyes quickly get chowed like grapes at a picnic. You’re distinguished nose falls off. Your flesh melts away from your bones. Quicker than you can say “pass the ketchup” there is nothing left. You’re gone.
It’s going to happen, almost certainly, in roughly the next ten minutes or ten decades.
Once you’re in the casket, all your friends and family are going to stand around in a funeral parlor drinking punch, crying, and telling lies. They’ll say a bunch of nice things, like, he was the coolest guy, she loved life, he always made people laugh, she had a pretty smile. For now they will be nice enough not to mention that you were sometimes annoying, you chewed too loud, you never shared, your breath stunk, and your dog was ugly, etc.
Most people are nice enough to just think that stuff.
For now, congratulations. If you’re reading this, you’re not dead. Yet. So what? Now is your chance. You’ve got at least a few seconds, hours, or decades until a terrorist blows up your plane, or, more likely, you text while driving, crash, and die; or, less likely, a vending machine falls on top of you while you angrily try to get that bag of chips. Here’s a little activity for you to think about. Draw a big letter T on piece of paper. On one side, write all the things you want people to say at your funeral (not out loud, cause that’s mostly crap; but silently in their hearts). On the other side, write all the stuff you will have accomplished by that day. That’s a good start.
Hey, non-dead person. This an excerpt from Give Up and Die (to stay alive): A Guide to Life Before Death for Teens and Other Crazy People by Dead Zen. Version 1.1 of the e-book is now available here, Tall Trees Grow Deep: Give Up and Die.