This past Sunday I was having breakfast with my grandparents and mom's family and had a terrific laughing fit over the greatest joke of life. That we're alive at all. We'd been talking earlier about how a heroin addict crashed into the telephone pole by their home, and splintered it right up the middle, and suddenly a story popped into my head that I'd read a month or two ago. Archaeologists discovered in Pompeii the remains of a man crushed underneath a falling piece of debris. Pompeii is known for its remains of human life, frozen straight into place: a man and his dog, a baker with raisins still in the bread. This however felt a little bit extra. The fact that this man was not just in Pompeii, but was in that exact spot that this rock would be falling at.
At the breakfast table, over coffee and biscuits it just became hysterically funny. It's a crap shoot. At any given moment you could snuff it. I know that we all know this but really it's hilarious in a horrifying, bizarre, absurd way. Did you hear about Dave? Oh yeah, choked to death on a piece of cantaloupe. Shame, just bought that nice new car and everything. Craziness. And it is funny. I mean, we laugh at what makes us uncomfortable to relieve stress or if something/someone is getting hurt. That's why we have so many jokes about death or dying. I always slightly mistrust people who say that you can't laugh at death. I mean, if not that, then what? Life's a joke, and you're the punchline. I love it though, the absurdity of it.
And really it's an existential necessity. Rarely, if ever, does someone really come to terms with their own mortality in a complete way.For 99.99 percent of us, there'll almost always be the need for release because we can't handle the idea that we're not going to be here. The one essential narcissistic quality that we all share and are ok with--wanting a little more time for ourselves.
After breakfast, I went outside for a few minutes to sit, and I thought about why I'd laughed so hard, until tears came into my eyes, at the death of someone from the ancient world, decapitated by a flying block of masonry. The absurdity of life, death, all of it. I love it. Sometimes it makes me break down and hide underneath a bed for half a day, but sometimes it gives me the best ideas for what i want to do and where i want to go since the clock is ticking. And to a certain extent it doesn't matter. Then I turn around and realize, it all does. Every bit of it. Tomorrow, next month, the next few seconds I might snuff it, and that's how it is.