In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Finite Creatures.”
(This will be a probably be a short post. I’ve only just started it, but I’m hoping it’s going to be one of those weirdly thought-provoking ones that get lots of comments)
The daily prompt for today is:
At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?
Some background information: whenever I used to hear someone say something like, “Oh, these young people today think they’ll live forever,” I used to roll my eyes and wonder just when and where those people learned that being so obnoxious and condescending was okay. I mean really, Past Matt wondered, do these people seriously think I don’t know I’m going to die?
The fact that I was going to die someday was obvious for as long as I can remember. I mean come on, man, that’s like rule #1 in the book of life. Everyone knew this. And nothing bugged me more than when adults (I used to hate adults, by the way.) tried to claim that I didn’t.
But I’ve learned to look deeper into things, and I now realize that they were sort of right. I admit this begrudgingly, because I hate to acknowledge when adults are right in any way.
I knew I was going to die someday, yet I didn’t. Not really. Mostly because death has always been something that is still a long way away for me (fingers crossed), so I don’t have to think of it too much. I know I’m going to die one day, just like I know that that table in front of me is made of wood, and that the incognito tab on google chrome is almost always used for porn. These are hard, incontrovertible facts. But it hasn’t quite hit me yet. Or to be more precise: this fact that death is inevitable does hit me, usually during peaceful summer nights, but then I go back to ignoring it afterwards.
I remember being at a party a little while ago and near the end me a group of kids were just chilling on a trampoline, and at one point I was just looking up at the night sky and found myself thinking, we’re all going to die one day, because apparently that’s the sort of thing people think about during parties. No, just me? Okay then.
I also find myself thinking about death during family get-togethers and dentist appointments, although at those times it’s more of a “okay hurry up, Death, get me out of here” sort of thing.
That being said, there have been plenty of times in my life when I’ve had to come face to face with my own mortality. Where death felt like an imminent threat, even though it probably wasn’t.
- When I was ten I almost drowned at Rockaway beach, when I got caught in the Undertow of the Year and was taken much, much farther out than I had any business being. I was saved by this guy named Max. (Mad Max?)
- A friend and I got lost in a forest once and it was terrifying. We were only in there for like, half an hour, but it felt like so much longer. Plus the sun was going down and the idea of being stuck in a forest after sunset was the scariest thing ever. Trees are just so creepy at night, you know?
- My basement used to have only one switch, at the bottom of the staircase, so I always had to sprint up the staircase to get away from the demonic presence I sensed below.
- A few nights ago I woke up at like, two in the morning, to hear the ice cream man riding around the neighborhood, that whimsical ice cream truck tune playing at full volume. It was the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard, and will probably become the plot of that horror novel I will one day write. I Scream for Ice Cream, will be the name of it.
So to distract you from the fact that I did a terrible job answering this prompt, I will leave you all with this question: When did you realize you weren’t immortal? More importantly, did you do any stupid things in your youth that inspired the whole teens-think-they’re-invincible stereotype? Because I would like to hear those stories. I unfortunately don’t have one of my own, because I am usually the guy right next to the guy making questionable decisions. Someone will say something like, “Yo, I’m gonna chug twenty cans of beer in a row and then take some anti-depressants!” and I’ll be the guy in the background giving him a look that says, “You know, I really wouldn’t do that if I were you.”