Do-It-Yourself Eulogy

Monday has already come and gone like a month of Sundays.

The weekend is a time when I promise myself I’ll get things done and invariably fail.  There’s something comfortably predictable about inescapable futility.  It’s like knowing that once the coffin lid is shut, there’s no way in hell–excuse me, on earth–you’re going to open it, no matter how much you may dream of becoming a zombie.

For those who believe in a totalitarian dictator who happens to be their imaginary friend, I imagine death would come as a disappointment to them, considering how bluntly their hopes are apt to be dashed.  What could be more anticlimactic than the utter, absolute, wholesale cessation of consciousness, the inexorable exit from existence?  (Not that they’ll even have the capacity for disappointment at that point.)

On an intellectual level it doesn’t bug me too much.  It’s hard to be afraid of Nothing.  If nothing happens to me when I die, it won’t feel like much of an interruption, considering how uneventful my life has become.  Not to say that I look forward to it, but it’s nice to know that the seemingly eternal aches and pains and suffocating sufferings of life will probably turn out to be temporary.  That’s some consolation.

“And what if excess of love bewildered them until they died?”

That question comes from Mr. William Butler Yeats (who neither was nor had a butler), and as far as I can tell, it’s meant to be rhetorical.  Love is a double-edged sword.  It gives us all a reason to get up and get out of bed in the morning, then dashes our hopes by taking those we love away from us, or else exposing them as strangers all of a sudden (I’m referring to eros in this clause as opposed to agape), proving we’ve been living in an illusion.

Sometimes, love is a troublemaker.

Singer Matt Johnson of The The claims that love is stronger than death, and despite the evil track record of the latter fellow in prematurely snuffing out a disproportionate number of Creation’s progeny, I’m inclined to agree.  Henry Kissinger, the crusty old mass-murdering toad, may still be alive, but so is Noam Chomsky.  (Granted, Kissy’s a few years older–and in such robust health!)  Howard Zinn outlived Mao, Stalin, and Hitler.  

These days the forces of death are concealed by corporate anonymity, so it’s harder to identify them–unless it’s us.

Whatever the case, the simple act of love or a spontaneous gesture of kindness is the most powerful force in the world.  The bestowal of a gift without expecting anything in return cuts greed off at the knees.  Together or alone, each one of us can be an unstoppable (well. . . eventually stoppable) force for good.  It’s all in our choice.



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