Wednesday, April 9, 2014

awe shit son

My father is a tremendously sweet guy and a genius, he told me years ago about the infatuation with death that arose in Americans after the civil war, when so  many souls were lost.  We were looking through a newspaper from the 1870's.  The entire reader submission page was made up of odes to lost loved ones or trembling love songs to the dead.  There were ads for death horns to bury with your loved ones in case they weren't really dead, churches, and cure all medications in between.  The whole thing was pretty morose.

So my genius dad who is entirely self taught tells me that after the civil war, people became obsessed with making sense of death, because there was just so much of it going around.  The most pressing problem that everyone wanted to busy themselves with wasn't figuring out how to stay alive so much as dealing emotionally with all of the inevitable death.  It was all over the place, dripping into cribs and gliding over windowsills, creeping silently down streets and alleys and hiding in the crevices around door frames.

One of my great uncles dropped dead the other day.  That's two in the last month and a half.  These losses weren't emotional events for me, understand, they were both very old and I didn't know either of them well, although I spent a nice two weeks visiting with the formerly dead one some thirty years ago.

People claim that when they're faced with death, their whole life flashes before their eyes.  I think that whenever we're faced with anyone's death, our whole lives flash before our eyes.  We're narcissistic bastards, after all.  So when my second great uncle in a month bit the dust the other day, I immediately started thinking about MY life.  Because I'm a narcissistic bastard human being, and not a robot.

I like my life alright.  I'm being stripped of ancestors by time and that's fine, that's how it's supposed to go.  I will be sad when my dad goes, because the world could always use more sweet and smart men.  My brother is sweet and smart though, and while he's not related biologically to my dad he's in as good a position as any to maintain his legacy.

My dad paints a little, the first time I tried acid I stared at a painting of his for hours.  This was 1990 and the picture hung in the two bedroom duplex he shared with me, his friend, and a village of mice.

The painting looked 3D, of course, the imagery was astounding to my acid addled brain.  I've looked at the picture in the years since and although it's not impressive I can still dredge up respect for the painting based on that night spent sitting in front of it gasping at every shadow.

Hey I'm just trying to say that the only death I'm afraid of is my dad's.  Everyone else in my family can fuck right off.  My dad's death won't kill me, but it will effect me.  You know?

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