February 17, 2009
Would you be willing to learn the exact time and date of your death?
Scary. And not for me, this one. I’m just too neurotic to be able to handle this kind of knowledge; in fact, knowing the exact time and date of my impending death would come to completely define and consume my life. I am the kind of person who gets seriously sad and down on Sunday morning in miserable anticipation of having to go back to work the next day – I start grieving for the weekend before it’s even over. This dare is kind of like that – what with the knowing precisely when The Bad Thing is coming – only a bajillion times worse, and plenty more nerve wracking. Frankly, I just don’t see how I could not have some kind of nervous breakdown if existing became just one big countdown and I had all the right numbers. I’d spend my time watching the clock and thinking how pointless it all is. The money would be useless
At first I thought, Who would ever do this? But then it occurred to me that there are plenty of people out there who would enjoy this kind of thing. They’re the sort of people who cotton to the idea of being forced to cope head-on with mortality to give life meaning. It makes me think of this guy I heard once on TV saying something along these lines: “What would you do if you found out you only had six weeks to live? I bet you’d quit your job that you hate and go traveling around the world with someone you love and make every moment all about doing the things that you’ve always wanted to do. But you know you aren’t going to die in six weeks. So instead, you’ll just keep doing things that make you miserable and taking every day for granted.” It’s such a mind-numbingly dumb way to live and yet almost everyone does. So, I guess this dare would be right for someone who’s looking for some way to be violently jolted out of their stupor. Me, I prefer the luxury of living in oblivion.
This is a tough one for me. There was a brief period when I thought that I’d throw caution to the wind and say yes. I figured that since I’m so incredibly neurotic to begin with, this dare might prove to be soothing in a very strange way. Think about it: I spend a lot of time fretting over all of the horrible, fatal accidents that might befall me in any given day, so knowing when I’m actually going to be in trouble would be oddly freeing. If I learned that, God forbid, I’d be leaving the earthly realm relatively soon, then I could make the most of my time. If it turned out that I’d be around for a while, I could stop obsessing over stupid shit and get on with enjoying myself (and I’d have a million dollars to help me in that endeavor). It would be nice to relax without the aid of prescription pharmaceuticals, you know? Unfortunately, I don’t think that I’d actually be that sanguine once faced with the news. I’m with Kali – this bit of cosmic wisdom would most likely drive me nuts. And if my favorite episode of The X-Files taught me anything, it’s that this kind of knowledge leads to absolutely nothing good.