Saturday, November 18, 2017

Before I Wake Up Dead

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

[Blogaramians: Blogarama renders the links in my columns useless. Please click on View original (above) to solve the problem/access lotsa columns.]

Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My sublime, drop-dead gorgeous muse (right shoulder) and back scratcher
Iggy -- Designated Sticky
Dana -- Designated gentlereader (left shoulder)

"Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75." -Benjamin Franklin

Possibly Excessive Self Promotion Ahead

Dear (eventual) Stickies & Great-Grandstickies,

Please hold on for just a sec', I've got to speak to the gentlereaders first...

My Dear Gentlereaders, FYI, my website, is not only -- New and Improved! -- it's still improving even as I write this. First, the Please Read This If You're New Here Tab is now called, Who Is This Guy Anyway?

If you've read Please Read This If You're New Here before, well, it hasn't radically changed but it now explains who I am and what this column is about more clearly and might be worth a reread on your part.

If you've never checked out my site it's definitely worth reading my -- New and Improved! -- introductory essay, Who Is This Guy Anyway? It's only the length of about two of my average columns but it attempts to provide my gentlereaders with the who, what, and why of my semi-humble missives.

The Glossary is updated, expanded (and ever expanding). This is where you need to look for explanations when you encounter a made-up word, be it my creation or one I stole borrowed from someone else. You'll also find the explanations behind corrupted/distorted/etceterated words such as shtuff or snifficant or etceterated.

I think it's worth reading for its own sake (You'll Laugh! You'll Cry!) but I don't get out that much.

There are two brand new tabs (you may have read about them in The New York Times or heard them mentioned on your favorite polarizing cable news channel).

Come On And Safari With Me, a title stolen borrowed from a Beach Boys song, Surfin' Safari, is where I post links to interesting shtuff I find when I surf the Web. Though obviously a thinly veiled attempt to get you to visit my website to check for updates, I pinky swear that I will do my best to post cool links there.

I used to post these sort of links on the Flyoverland Crank's Facebook page. Going forward I'll only use the FB page to announce new columns and post links to Wall (no fake news) Street Journal articles, the only way to share WSJ articles due to a very sturdy paywall.

Finally, the new Privy Council of Perspicacious Polymaths tab lists the names of the individuals chosen to be members of my privy council once I become the King of America. Each name is accompanied by a video that will introduce my future subjects to my favorite polymaths.

The format of my website contradicts the conventional wisdom of  people that make a very nice living advising other people how to make a very nice living by constructing their websites to be honey traps for people who don't like to read and/or whose attention spans have been reduced to the level of high functioning chimpanzees due to the pace of modern life and social media addiction. This is why so much of the web is beautiful graphics, minimal words, sexed-up titles, bums and boobies, and aggressive never-ending, advertising. I offer mostly just words, and no ads.

Now, where was I... oh, yeah waking up dead. Dear (eventual) Stickies & Great-Grandstickies...

Death Is Natures Way of Telling You to Slow Down

...And although this saying of uncertain etymology is only vaguely relevant to what follows I threw it anyway because I like it and want to use it somewhere before I die. 

Although I currently self-identify as a 39-year-old drop dead gorgeous African-American lesbian woman person named Coco, I'm trapped inside the body of a 64-year-old cranky white dude who's currently dealing with spinal stenosis.

Spinal stenosis (sounds ugly don't it?) generated problems range from relatively mild to relatively awful. For now, I'm at the relatively mild end of the scale. That could change with time, but I'm on it.

The reason I mention this is because I've been mildly obsessed with death for couple-a-three years now because, one, for the first time in my life I had/I have some serious health problems and two, I know a lot of dead people. Oh, and an awful lot of famous people that I've been aware of for decades are dropping dead.

As to number one, yes, of course I'm grateful. As to number two, yes, of course, I'm aware that people succumbing to involuntary dirt naps with depressing regularity is a logical/inevitable/commonsensical/etceterical stone cold fact. No need to take it personally, right?

For the record, while I don't want to die just yet -- I've got a bunch of shtuff I need/I'd like to get done -- I don't fear death. In fact, I'm kinda/sorta looking forward to it for philosophical reasons, positive ones that I won't go into here. But, I must admit that the possibility of dying slowly and painfully is somewhat disconcerting.

Now, when I say mildly obsessed, I mean just that. It's always sort of there, in the background, like a simmering pot of subtle potpourri.  A simmering pot of subtle potpourri... say it out loud with a French accent. Cool, huh? Well, not exactly, because I hate the smell of a simmering pot of potpourri. Subtle -- or as strong as a house full of Glade Plug-Ins cranked all the way up -- I'll pass.

But I fell in love with the simile as soon as I wrote it so it's probably going to still be here when I click on the Publish button.

While I don't sit around all day thinking about death (though I do sit around all day, it's a stenosis thing) I'm, um, TRIGGERED! that's it!, something for the Millennials to relate to. I'm triggered when I'm reminded of my inevitable deletion from meatspace.

Until relatively recently, I thought I was bulletproof, ten feet tall, and going to live forever. The realization that I'm not is one of the reasons I started writing these letters/this column.

However, the death of Tom Petty + spinal stenosis + siblings in worse shape than I + the fact that the Wompa Woman can't be bothered to do her exercises anymore + other shtuff = Cranky cranking out a column (or two or...) and writing down everything he'd tell his beloved Stickies if he knew he was scheduled for momentary deletion...

[Dana: Huh?]
[Iggy; Tom who?]
[Marie-Louise, stops scratching, places hands on hips (hers, not mine): French accent?]

While fervently hoping I'm not. But ya' never know, ya' know?

Having already crossed the 1,000-word threshold due to my intemperate self-promotion, it's too late to thoroughly explore the very first thing that came to mind when I thought about what I'd like to make sure I told yinz if I were facing impending deletion.

That is to say, the importance of finding positive meaning in life/in your lives.

However, rather than just leave you hanging, here's a taste of what's coming next week

A few weeks ago I wrote about Hope and/or Goals (Heavenly Graces, Pt. 3). I mentioned that there are physiological reasons for why goal seeking makes you feel good. Well, in order to find positive meaning in your life, you need a goal that you find valuable. The pursuit of goals will make you feel good and supply meaning which will make you feel even better.

See, the thing is...well here, step into Dr. Peterson's class for just a minute. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.

[P.S. Gentlereaders, for 25¢ a week, no, seriously, for 25¢ a week you can become a Patron of this weekly column and help to prevent an old crank from running the streets at night in search of cheap thrills and ill-gotten gains.

If there are some readers out there that think my shtuff is worth a buck or three a month, color me honored, and grateful. Regardless, if you like it, could you please share it? There are buttons at the end of every column.]

©2017 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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