December 7, 2013
People continually post these posts about the only thing you regret on your deathbed being what you did not do. As in, you should have done a lot of stupid shit and taken a bunch of risks that, I dunno, could have gotten you eaten by a bear or impregnated by a stripper or dead leaping out of a plane.
I think those people are full of shit.
*Side note: I have never been eaten by a bear or impregnated by a stripper or killed leaping out of a plane. Those are examples, people.
Most of the things I regret in my life are things I did that were unwise or in some way cost or injured me. And okay, I’m not on my deathbed.
I have been, though, more than once, in ER rooms where people told me I was dying. Which makes you think.
The few times hospital personnel were telling me I was dying, my only concern was, God damn it, someone call someone to take care of the dogs.
At one point in an ER room the only way to impact upon people how important that was to me was to rip out an IV drip.
[Ripping out an IV hurts do not try that at home. But people sit up when you do it.]
When you do that, tear out an IV? People either put you in a psych ward or call the number you have been telling them to call for the last five hours so you will let them put the IV back — however they can since you just screwed a good IV line they were counting on for the helicopter ride.
*Sidenote: I was lucky, they called the number instead of throwing me in a psych ward. Yay me. Of course they also didn’t want a wrongful death suit for not getting me on the helicopter, you take the power where you can get it. Still yay me dammit.
One time in a philosophy class my assignment was to write a note to “someone” based on the idea I was dying and these were my last words to anyone in the world.
Everyone else in that class started writing and didn’t stop till the bell rang — an hour and a half later.
My note was two sentences. “I love you. Take care of the dogs.”
The man I loved then is gone.
The dogs I loved then are gone.
Probably now I’d just write, “So long and thanks for all the fish.”
There are things you do not do in this life because of a sense of overbearing caution or fear. Sometimes that overbearing caution or fear is justified. Like, you know, don’t shake hands with the Grizzly. He is not a cartoon. He will rip your arm off, watch you bleed out, and then floss his teeth with your tendons while he eats your liver.
But that is a bit extreme.
Sometimes you do not do something because you are living in a brain box of your own making that is cauterizing your life and cutting you off from any opportunity.
And sometimes it is maybe hard to tell the difference.
I think maybe that is who that statement, “You’ll regret what you did not do more than what you did do,” is meant for.
Other times, you don’t do things — because of a code of honor.
Codes of honor can be real simple, like, Don’t wear pearlescent lipstick to Academy Awards Ceremonies. [That shit just doesn’t photograph well.]
Or, don’t screw your best friend’s boyfriend.
You pick your code of honor and stick with it. And some codes of honor are more universal than others.
*Sidenote: I have worn pearlescent lipstick to an Academy function, don’t do that, that shit does not photograph well;
I have never screwed a best friend’s boyfriend, but someone did it to me and we never came back from that.
I am maybe aberrant. Maybe I just do things other people do not, like leap just to see, when saner people do not? And then limp back with bruises and reports saying, Wow, THAT HURT.
It does hurt, when you dive just to see if there are rocks under that water.