Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Musing on mortality

So you're running pretty good all in all, but one day something's not quite working right. You've got a drip, or a squeak, or a pinch. Something's bent. Front end out of line, or you're not hitting on all cylinders. You take yourself into the shop and the doctor seems a little too serious for your comfort. You get to take some unpleasant tests, and you worry that you're getting worried over nothing, but then the other shoe drops - you've got it bad, and that ain't good.

Here's the big question - what would you do with yourself and your little life if you knew you were a short timer? Say they tell you you've got six months or a year to go - would you live your life differently if you knew you didn't have much of it left to live?

It's a little like pondering what you would do if you won the lottery. (Granted scenario 1 is a little less joyful than scenario 2.) If you won the lottery, you'd have sudden wealth and you'd live a different life, right? You'd run with a faster crowd, jet off to Monaco to play roulette, dinner at Maxim's in Paris, caviar for breakfast, custom Italian suits, big, fat diamond rings. And that would make you happy, right?

Or would it? What if you're a Fritos and bean dip guy and you just want to get the lawn mowed and watch Nascar.

There's a fundamental flaw with the fantasy that if you were suddenly rich or suddenly terminal you would do everything differently from what you're doing now.That means you are subsisting from day to day but you're living some other life than the one you want, doesn't it? Maybe that's why some lottery winners have such a freakout. They try to live like rich people. But what they really want is to be slobs.

Be careful what you hope for.


Anonymous said...

Is everything OK with you? Your last two posts have a definite theme going on ... hope all is well.

your daughter said...

well, papa,
let me tell you this:
my life would not be so different.

also, money isn't everything.

Barry Martin said...

Elizabeth - no, there is nothing wrong with me other than being occasionally melancholy, approaching 50, and lamenting lost youth. Other than that, I'm peachy! (Thanks for asking.)

Well, Daughter,let me tell you this:
I'm glad your life would not be so different, that means you are doing something right.

Also, it's true that money is not everything - which is something people always say when they don't have any.