On Bowing Out Gracefully
We’re born, we live, and then we die. These are the bare facts of our existence that are inescapable.
Perhaps there was a mescaline-fueled moment in your yesteryear in which you were presented with other fantastic ideas; you would become a gnat in your next life, for example. But alas, this is a fool’s dream, like in some Martin Short skit or Steve Martin movie.
It seems there should be some exit plan for leaving this world. But then it’s not really leaving this world, it’s returning what you took from it one last time. All of these cells in your body are replaced on a regular basis. You eat, your cells die, and they either fall off your body or you excrete them. There are also unfortunate incidents like having a limb hacked off, but this is a digression. In any case, some of us think there is something more to ourselves than a collection of cells, and for those people is written this post.
No one had a discussion with me when bringing me into this world. My parents were young hippies and were merely having unprotected sex. I was “a mistake” to quote some words from my not so kind father, but I get his point. He did not go out gracefully, by the way, which has probably led me to consider how I would like to go. There is no “entrance plan” that is yours. You eventually become aware of life and start forming tangible memories. My earliest are at about the age of 4. They are short and only of places and there is no emotion attached to them.
You will have this mental life in between your earliest memories and dementia, which is this stage where your brain starts to shrink in your head and you lose your mind. I think this is where we should be bowing out gracefully; not in some assisted living facility where our relatives come to visit us even less than they still go to church, which they have no faith in anyway. But how do we bow out gracefully?
One idea is a gentle suicide, maybe with someone else who would like to go. You could surround yourself with flowers, dress up real nice, and then asphyxiate yourself with nitrogen (it’s supposed to be better than carbon monoxide). The idea here is at least to present yourself in a non-grim way for the coroner, relative, or whoever else may find you.
Another idea is to go out in extreme style, climbing Mt.Everest or bungee jumping off a cliff. This is the really exciting version of suicide, and it stays within the bounds of ethics so your relatives and friends don’t have to think about what you have done too much. Alternatively, there is the crazy psychopath, cop-assisted suicide, where you take out all of your enemies and get riddled with police bullets.