Friday, February 22, 2013

A matter of life and death

The cosmos seemed to be speaking to me the other day.  I kept running across web posts about aging and death.  I thought at first it might not have been a good day to go out and about, but I survived with no ill effects.

The first message came in an article about a study that showed it is dangerous to fixate on your own aging.  The news article said the study compared people constantly worried about growing old with people constantly concerned about being fat.  The study found that women of all ages complain about being old, and that calling yourself old can make you feel as bad about your body as calling yourself fat. The research links so called 'old talk' to greater levels of body dissatisfaction, which can in turn lead to higher rates of eating disorders, anxiety, depression and more physical and mental health problems."

"The study included only women because the author suspects this is less of a problem for men, 'because men are allowed to age' said the author, a psychology professor at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. 'You just look at aging male celebrities – they become 'distinguished' or 'handsome' in this older way where as women are not really allowed to do this.'"

Here's some news for her:  All men are not movie stars.  Some, in fact a lot of us, don't age into the distinguished category.  The way I have approached it has been to embrace the age, but don't necessarily live by society's expectations for someone that old.  In simpler words I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  I have also found a way to at least laugh in its face, for instance, calling myself the second oldest lil monster or preferring to be a dirty old man to being a senior citizen.  I am not fighting age, but I am not giving in to it either.  Her advice in part was not to talk about it but I think that is wrong.  I think maybe it is better to talk and laugh and move gracefully into it, not fight it or let it diminish your own self image.  There was even a poll on the story asking people how often they are guilty of "old talk."  The choices were never or rarely, sometimes, and often.  I woud have hit often, but would have objected to feeling any guilt about it whatsoever.  Guilty, are all these stories written by children?

After going through the aging thought process, another item showed up.  That's the picture.  When I was younger and environmentally idealistic, and thought about death, I imagined my burial in a plain wood coffin that would deteriorate quickly and without embalming so my body would also.  Then have a few tree seeds placed atop the coffin as it was lowered into the ground.  That way a tree would grow in time, with two benefits: one, that I would have given something back to Earth, and, two that the living tree was acceptable to me as a path to eternal life.  That tree would grow, drop seeds and others would grow and so it goes, eternally unless interrupted by some outside force.

Now I find, well, forgive me, it's like there's an app for that.  These folks have designed and sell a biodegradable  bucket just the size for cremains and with nutrients and maybe seeds.  I suppose you could add your own seeds to fit your climate.  But it serves the purpose and looks like a good way to go.  I have been to their web site but still haven't figured out how to order one, but I am going to and take one less burden off the people who have to clean up my lifetime mess.  To me that is a good use of a body. 

But the soul, oh the soul, what do you do with that?  I don't believe in heaven or that kind of eternal life but I do feel the presence of a spirit within the mind that might amount to what religious people call a soul, that 21-gram entity that departs the body at the precise moment of death.  Most people, myself included, as they grow older at some time or other remark about how time seems to move faster.  Part of that, of course, is that each year becomes a smaller percentage of your total life as you age.  But my theory is that maybe time or at least our passage through it does speed up with age.  As it gains speed, it eventually reaches terminal velocity, and given that we are on a spinning sphere, centrifugal force spins the soul out of the body and flings it into the vacuum of space, leaving the remains behind to regenerate the earth.  I can live, and die, with that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Interesting quotations

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeare on Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve