Friday, October 26, 2012

Life after death and the supreme pizza

This just in from the - Trending topics this week:  A brain surgeon says the afterlife is real.  And, Pizza Hut offers lifetime pizza. 

Now that’s my kind of news!   

Doesn’t it just take away the fear of death?  Relax!  You know everything will be OK if there’s Eternal Pepperoni!   

Maybe that was what Felix Baumgartner was thinking about right before he stepped away from his own personal Red Bull space pod.  Twenty-four miles up.  Eight hundred miles an hour.  Free falling.  He must have been contemplating life everlasting and a fresh calzone. 

Actually, I heard he’s a big romantic.  Just at that moment when you can’t take it back, he reported saying to himself, “I don’t want to die in front of my girlfriend.”   

But…but…Then why would you…?  Oh never mind. 

Now I don’t have a death wish, but I do have a death thought.  Totally unbidden you understand.  Still, almost every day “it” crosses my mind somehow, someway. 

For example, we recently bought a mattress with a 25-year warranty.  That’ll give you pause for a death thought.  This could be THE mattress.  If I’m lucky that is, and meet my demise while at home, smiling in my sleep, dreaming of a Chicago-style pan pie with everything on it. 

I often think of death when I’m at the gym, but not my own.  It’s not exactly that I’m wishing actual death on anyone.  It’s more like that commercial where an unwanted nuisance just goes “poof!”  There go those muscled-up guys who wear sweatbands and flex the tattoos on their biceps.  No more toned young women with ponytails and other things bouncing.  Abracadabra!  It’s satisfying. 

And I guess some might say I dramatize my near-death experiences in the U-Jam class.  Maybe I don’t have to bend from the waist and gulp oxygen quite so often.  No true need to hold up my hand for all to pause and watch as I declare my imminent end.  OK.  Whatever.  You try U-Jam. 

But I’m not preoccupied.  I’m not!  It’s natural to think about death and dying every day, isn’t it?  Admit it.  I’m not the only one. 

My center for rationalization has kicked in to assure me that we all do it – we all think of our own unraveling. 

I figure it’s a common train of thought or we wouldn’t have so many euphemisms for “passing away.”  You know, like the Eskimos and snow.  Or, MontyPython and the parrot.  

Or, maybe it’s unique to of those of us who’ve crossed a particular threshold:  More yesterdays than tomorrows.  A person occupying that spot on the timeline of life can’t help thinking about, you know, let’s see…what’s a gentle way of putting it - joining the crowd invisible (my own personal favorite nickname for “going to meet your maker”).   

An upbeat tidbit in the life-and-death dilemma comes from DiscoverMagazine’s online edition.  They report that reverse aging is not a physical impossibility, but merely a technological challenge. 

So, it appears that baby booming lab geeks are also mulling over the phenomenon of expiration.  They’re no doubt working on some kind of gadget we’ll clamp onto our heads to regenerate tired old sagging cell structure and pink up the gray matter.  Or maybe they’ll invent an immortality pill.  Either way.   

Perhaps they’ll wrap us in aluminum foil like Miles Monroe in “Sleeper” and freeze dry us in anticipation of death defying scientific innovation. 

I figure it’ll be a metabolism thingamajig.  Discover says a lifetime spans 1.5 billion heartbeats, give or take.  That’s true for any and all living beings.  Humming birds, grizzly bears, retired high school principals…all the same.  Critters with shorter lifespans just get their 1.5 billion in a lot faster than the rest of us.  So logically, all we need is an H.G. Wells sort of slow everything down pacemaker.  

The guy in the article actually said that he doesn’t expect to live forever, but when it comes to his grandkids “all bets are off!”   

Ha ha ha!  It’s just so much fun not to fret over the inevitable. 

Oh well.  There’s no point in getting morbid about it.   

After all, even when we do tuck it in, there’s always the pizza.