Monday, May 31, 2021

Thinking about death today (again)


Jack Kerouac's grave in Edson Cemetery, Lowell, MA

Today I find myself again thinking about death* (see my April 21 post). My own, that of others I've known, others I haven't known (it's Memorial Day, after all, so one should remember the fallen** on this day especially). Jack Kerouac was no stranger to thoughts of death. He lost his older brother when the latter was only 9 years old and his father at the young age of 56. Jack himself only made it to 47. He frequently opined about death in his works, most notably saying he wrote Visions of Cody because "we're all going to die" and longing in Mexico City Blues (211th Chorus) to be "free of this slaving meat wheel."

I was pondering the time I have left when I happened on The Death Clock, which lets you input basic data about yourself and then tells you the date you will die. I don't know how scientific it is, but it is based on age and Body Mass Index (it includes a BMI calculator) and smoker status, so there's that. You can tell it to calculate in Normal, Pessimistic, Sadistic, or Optimistic  mode. For me that translated to:

Normal            =     September 22, 2029 (dead at 73 years old)

Pessimistic      =     July 8, 2013 (dead already)

Sadistic           =     September 21, 1992 (dead already)

Optimistic       =     November 28, 2041 (dead at 85 years old)

I'm 65 now, so a normal mode gives me a whopping 8 years to go. In the pessimistic and sadistic modes I already would have died (I wonder what I was doing on those two dates and whether I unknowingly "dodged a bullet"). Optimistic mode gives me till I'm 85 (20 years to go), which I will note is exactly how old my mom and dad were when they died. I'll plan on 85 but have to admit that, no matter what, it's been a good run.

If you give the calculator a go, don't blame me if it puts you in a low mood. I like to think of it as a perspective adjuster.

Remembering Linda, Charlie, Tom, mom and dad, brothers Jim and Billy, grandma and grandpa, and too many others to mention today.

*    FYI, I am not having suicidal ideations.
**  Which reminds me of a favorite toast: "To the fallen."

No comments: