“The Roman phrase for expressing that a man had died, viz., “Abiit ad plures” (He has gone over to the majority,) my brother explained to us; and we easily comprehended that any one generation of the living human race, even if combined, and acting in concert, must be in a frightful minority, by comparison with all the incalculable generations that had trot this earth before us. The Parliament of living men, Lords and Commons united, what a miserable array against the Upper and Lower House composing the Parliament of ghosts!”
Excerpt From: Thomas De Quincey. “Autobiographical Sketches”
There I said it! The d-word. Death. Lately its usage has become a convenient and ironic weapon in the American political arena. Florida Governor (R) Ronald Dion DeSantis is now labelled “Ron Death Antis” thanks to his pitiful lack of direction against the pandemic in his state. It is unimaginable how Death Antis has ignored science, reason and evidence in this matter; everything is contrary to what he shamefully cites. But like the “Big Lie” (the current underbelly of American politics advancing that Donnie Trump was framed in the last presidential election) – a QAnon theory to which Death Antis no doubt subscribes – these massive fabrications are openly avoided by the Republican Congressmen and Senators who support them. I say avoided because there is no other way to address them while preserving even a shred of authenticity. The answer naturally to this otherwise dreadfully curious logic on the part of Republicans is nothing other than rhetorical distortion of the meaning of “representing the people”, as though doing what their “base” wants is somehow the answer to public service and leadership. The answer has notably nothing to do with the electors other than to preserve the Republicans in their government seats. The unabashed hunger of these mercenaries leaves one wondering how dreadful their private life and financial affairs must be to warrant such shallow acquittal.
Before I go on I must address two issues; first, when I began jabbering about death it was not to invoke American politics because I really have no standing in the matter and I owe it to my American friends to apologize for the presumption of having invaded their national space; and, two, my direction at the moment is to voice an opinion of death. I think you’ll agree that among septuagenarians the topic is never concealed. Yet just because it is mentioned frequently does not mean the subject is enlarged upon to any noticeable degree by the majority. Instead death – except when real and at hand – is primarily a metaphor or part of a joke. This does not mean that I consider death a joke. To be perfectly candid, at my age, with my history of indulgences and physical calamities, I am lucky to be here! Indeed if my memory serves me correctly my erstwhile family physician reputedly remarked after my open-heart surgery, “We didn’t think he’d make it off the table!” That at least is my opener. And I believe that simple truth merits recognition because otherwise it is too easy to dismiss anything else I say as insensitive to the fortuity which must of necessity invade my thought.
In my experience nothing puts the lid on things faster than fatigue. In the context of death I equate fatigue with illness – basically a condition which takes the spark out of things. Now I know one can become tired or ill without it being life-threatening; but what I’m after here is the conditions which are interminable. As so many others have casually observed, “If I’m that bad I don’t want to linger on my death bed” or something of that nature.
I am discovering that I am a bit of a gambler, at least I am becoming one as I age. Every day I get older, I’m closer to defeating death. Accordingly each day I survive, I am snapping my fingers at death! The pending imperative of death has enabled a modicum of frivolity and privilege I hadn’t previously known. I mean, at my age, who cares what I do or think! More importantly I am no longer certain I care except to the extent that whatever I do or say exemplifies what I feel not what any other restraint may empower.
Death is a release. For some it has been a release from what I imagine were overwhelmingly disturbing thoughts. I have known several people who spoke of suicide, two of whom did it. I was told by someone whose thoughts I respected to have nothing further to do with the chap who spoke of suicide. The thesis was that people who talk about suicide are trouble. Not certain I agree but it doesn’t matter because as far as I know the chap survives. The local fellow who shot himself had been a client and acquaintance of mine. To this day I am saddened by the thought of his tragic death. He was young at the time.
Anyway…death is still considered a release for those of us who partake otherwise. To imagine there is any strength to that objective is naturally absurd because it logically entails someone “on the other side” who is getting a bang out of the release. You see how easy it is to fall into the absurdity of religion and necromancy which so regularly invades this particular arena of contemplation. No doubt there are many who dismiss the authenticity of these divinations because they are calculated to subdue the peril and damage caused by death. To which I say, you had your time to say or do it before they left! After that nothing matters.