Monday, August 23, 2004

"Why is death like a wedding?" Or like sex?

Last week, I came back from the dead. It was awesome! Even the New York Times interviewed me. "So. Ms. Stillwater. What was death like? And what was it like to be dead?" Did I have a nice funeral? How big was the burial plot?

I am about to give you the full 411 on death. Everything you've EVER wanted to know. So shut up and listen.

There are only two things that a human being MUST do. We must get born. And we must die. There's not much we can do about our birth but there's hecka lot that we can do about how to die.

So. What is death like? Death is like sex.

"How would you describe the exact moment of death?" You either have an orgasm, you endure it or you get raped.

What causes a death experience to be orgasmic? Creative foreplay! Our death can be our life's very best high. Wanna see stars and find out first hand if the earth really moves? Then you gotta use the right techniques.

We all wonder what will happen to us when we die. Most of us are scared of death. Don't be. Apparently God has created a sure-fire way to make our deaths even more enjoyable than our wedding night!

But getting back to the New York Times guy. He was not all that pleased with the sex analogy. Then let me put it another way. "Death is like a wedding." The NYT guy shrugged. Was this all the news that was fit to print? I clarified. "What do we know about weddings? One can elope. Or one can have a civil ceremony with the Justice of the Peace. Or one can go all the way -- and have a big lavish fabulous wedding that everyone will remember for the rest of their lives! Death is like that. And the way that we can change the moment of our own death into some wondrous thing -- LIKE A BIG LAVISH WEDDING -- is to..." Watch it now. Here comes the secret of having a REALLY COOL death! " have done good deeds in life."

Sorry, guys. Nothing else will do it. It's not about who has the most power or the most Federal Reserve Notes or even the most oil. And committing genocide disqualifies you from even a Vegas quickie wedding. Arranging for other peoples' deaths totally eliminates you from even being allowed to catch the bouquet (No preemptive strikes, no Rapture-made-easy-by-blowing-up-the-world-early, no Wellstone, no JFK. Won't GWB be surprised.)

"Before I died," I told the Times, "I was a crotchety old curmudgeon at heart. So how did someone like me end up winning the moment-of-death lottery? Good works. Mitzvahs. Good deeds. I gave money to the homeless. I protested the Iraq war. I was nice to teenagers! I worked my butt off. I DESERVED this death."

"Got any other good advice for the just-about-to-die?" asked the New York Times. Here's one more sure bet: Don't try it yourself! When things go wrong and you get depressed and you wish you were dead, just listen to that voice within you that says, "Wait. Stay around. If you commit suicide now, you'll miss the Big Bang." And it is well worth the wait.

Since 1968, an estimated 150,000 Vietnam vets have committed suicide. They didn't have to commit suicide. They could have made up for what they'd done. As long as we are alive, there is always a chance to make up for what we've done. Iraq vets need to know that too. And the Mujahideen. And the IDF. And even the Mafia if they really really try.

What else have I learned? Besides that the very best (and cheapest) funeral involves being buried in your back yard under the apple tree? I have learned that when future dead people (That's ALL of us, folks) understand this simple concept of death, terrorists can have no hold over us because WE WILL NOT BE AFRAID. We will just look at terrorists as yet another opportunity to do good deeds. We will just smile at them and say, "I gots an extra turkey sandwich. Would you like some lunch?" Nothing spoils a terrorist's day like having people not be afraid. Americans need to stop acting like wimpy chickens with their heads cut off and get a grip. Stop cowering in the closet with code colors and duct tape. Eleanor Roosevelt was not afraid.

"But," said the NYT guy, "if good deeds are so fabulously good for us, why are we so reluctant to do them?" Why are folks so much more interested in cutting federal aid to education, stealing lunch money from school kids, watching grisly movies, joining gangs, flying airplanes into the World Trade Center, committing adultery, raping schoolgirls in the Sudan, setting off Armageddon and sodomizing children at Abu Ghraib than they are in, say, taking flowers to shut-ins or helping little old ladies across the street? Why indeed.

"The first time I killed a man it was such a rush!" said one US Marine in Iraq. And my own father, who was too old to fight during World War II, begged the Navy to help him get himself into harm's way. The man would much rather go kill total strangers than be forced to stay home with the wife and kids.

According to, my home town alone spent over 50 million dollars on the war on Iraq. For that amount of money, we could have hired over a thousand teachers -- or at least kept the libraries open on Sundays. So why don't we? Because good deeds are basically boring.

Can somebody PLEASE figure out ways to make doing good deeds exciting and fun? Surely we are smart enough to do that. For instance, we could do good deeds by protesting George Bush's attempts to bankrupt our country. We'd probably get beaten, tear-gassed and jailed for trying to utilizing our right to free speech in the process but we'd be doing a good deed. And it certainly would be exciting and fun.

Aside from that, if we really want to experience death as the perfect climax to life, we gotta settle down, grit our teeth and start grinding out those boring, mundane, every-day good deeds. There's no way around it. Sorry.

So," said the NYT. "You died once already. What do you do you plan to do for an encore?" Me? I want to volunteer in soup-lines this Christmas. I want to babysit for harassed mothers, to hand out spare change. Good grief, that last death was fun! I want to store up enough Mitzvahs so that I can do it again!