It’s Thursday night and the world’s oldest person just died. Again.
Three times in the last three months, stories have circled the world and 'round again, reporting that the newest reigning, oldest person in the entire world has just kicked the bucket. Could it just be that now I’m getting older, and I'm paying more attention? Or is this a noticeable spike in worldy death occurances? I might also add, that this could possibly be the worst honor, ever given with good intentions, in the history of man.
“Congratulations. You’ll be dead soon.”
When one ‘oldest living corpse’ dies, there’s a new one lying in wait..... usually in a convalescent home, and sometimes in the very next bed. It’s not so much higher math as succession. Wheel in the next lucky cadaver, present him or her with a bejeweled golden belt to celebrate, and if they can lift it, I’m writing their name down on a little piece of paper torn off the back of my oily bus seat to Vegas, and laying some chips down on the ‘Next to Die’ table for my new sure thing. I take that back. I’d probably split my betting vote between that person and this guy. I can’t lose.
Not just confined to your centenarian Asians and what have you.... plenty of 'young', famous white-folk have bought the farm, pigs and all, in recent days. You know them well.
Johnny Cash? Dead. John Ritter? Dead. The term ‘the john’ from our lexicon? Dead as hobnails.
And not only are the coincidences appalling, but so are some of the images. The pics I’ve seen of some of the recently deceased, were shot when they were alive, but I couldn’t tell. Some looked like they’d been propped up, bones broken into smiles, rouged up like clown-whores, and left to the worms for a week or more. It’s here that I think I should make a plea to you all:
Should my heart still beat, and I’m having clear thoughts, and even if my diaper’s not too spoiled.....if you see my nose wandering inward and my skin starts to smell of almonds, please someone end it for me. Then burn me up, and pour my ashes over something important. I don’t want to die in vain, but don’t let me live to rot. Call this a will.
Eventually all this got me to thinking.... am I gonna go out hog-tied by some cunning Bolivian revolutionaries in a wild kidnapping plot only to fight my way out of the Andes to death and glory, or could it be a flaming motorcycle, some asphalt slick with fallen leaves, and a truck hauling liquid oxygen? Or am I more on par for a used porcelain bed pan, some fusty ‘meals on wheels’ substitute and countless years of counting the minutes ‘til the clock runs low on double A's? I needed to know the answer, so I found out. You can too if you like. It’s a weight off.
And if you’re still mad about Robert Palmer pushing little daisies, don’t be. He too, like MG and critter nasal porn, is just a click away.
The first thing I always think of when "the oldest living person" is hauled into the news is, "according to who?" How would we know who the oldest person on earth is given that we can't possibly know or measure everyone's age? I bet there's someone else out there who's older, and now they're getting short shrift. But I also bet they're not watching this newscast. Then I have to remind myself to appreciate the difference between being cynical and a skeptic.
As for flaming motorcycles, luckily I've never been on one, though I did tape a smoke bomb to the back of my bike when I was a kid and rode around the block wondering what that prickly icy feeling on the back of my head was (little sparks from the smoke bomb burning into my scalp).
by chris at November 14, 2003 2:59 AM
Brilliant, Lajo. I am reminded of that time some newspapers accidentally ran the obligatory bio of Bob Hope while he was still technically alive. Oops. And what's up with this Reagan fellow? They are busily christening battleships named after him and pulling TV movies about him and meanwhile, he's still here. Very strange.
by anna at November 14, 2003 7:42 AM
Stomach... hurts... laughing... internally... at.... work...
by Linz at November 14, 2003 9:49 AM
chris, take a look at the first article linked up there. it's proof of what you say. there's an albanain lady who just died in recent weeks who was not only "unofficially" the oldest person in the the world at that time, she was "unofficially" the oldest person ever. though apparently, 123 years ago in albania, little things like birth certficates weren't issued. they must have scratched it on the official record of tree bark.
anna, thanks. and to our christening credit, reagan is no longer here. not in any estimable sense.
linz, come on. your stomach just hurts from rolling around with your new boyfriend until 4am. and i'll bet you're tired, and somehow that's my fault too.
by lajo at November 14, 2003 10:59 AM
A wise man prays for death but can't pull the trigger out of moral obligation. A fool fears that which is as certain as sales tax. Pain is a part of life. Death is either one long and lonely sleep, hell, or the heaven of your choosing. Rage against the dying of the light? Sounds like you are Raging against the machine. Either way, 123 years seems like a long time. I'll have to agree with you. On everything but the offing part. I'm hoping to wander into the wilderness and let the maggots eat my flesh. Or fall overboard and feed the fishes. That way I can be a fly on the wall in many places at once or the chicken of the sea- for future generations to come.
by MAC... at November 15, 2003 12:50 AM
I swear my will specifies that my corpse be thrown from a moving vehicle into a ditch and promptly forgotten. I'm the no wake zone.
by anna at November 16, 2003 8:46 AM
my good friend wants to be placed in a cotton sack, and not traditionally prepared or embalmed. then he wants to be just buried in a small, unmarked hole. i think that's kind of romantic.
but i like yours too, anna. very new jersey, 1976.
by lajo at November 16, 2003 2:53 PM
I love it Anna! That's so, like, core, like the last big "F you". The cotton sack one is cool, too Lajoie. I thought what happened with Kurt Cobain, where monks made little sculptures with his ashes, was pretty cool. I think I would like that, but I don't want to fill the world with more tchotchkes. I guess if I had to make a choice right today, I'd like my ashes to be scattered over a mountain range or national park. So I'm with you, Lajo.
by jean at November 16, 2003 9:34 PM