Thursday, November 30, 2006

Am I looking for or at trouble?

The commenters to my last post, though they seem to have misunderstood the complex phrase "hope there areN'T any bombings", ask a fair question. So I thought about whether I am too insouciant about death. Even we crackpots wonder about larger issues on occasion.

Every year we all have two anniversaries. We know our birthday, but we also pass the unknown date on which we’ll die.We live in a strange culture which tries to hide death, at least as a personal rather than an entertainment experience. I use that term carefully, because we produce and buy thousands of hours of moving picture slaughter in which the dead are explicitly not like the viewers. And aside from the death on the stupidity machine, most Americans see little death close up.

I have had enough of my own “marked for death” experiences that I’m perhaps more aware than I should be that I’ll personally find out what is on the other side of the door. I think of death not as just something that happens to other people but as something that will happen to me.

Fear and gloom about death are harmful. Worrying about anything is useless at best, and usually makes the event seem worse than it is. That’s been my experience so far, with few exceptions. And death is the most completely, utterly, entirely inevitable event of all, isn’t it? Sure, there is an element of whistling in the dark there, too. The dark is lonely, so why not whistle? I can't sing worth a hoot.

On the specific level of the war, the jihadis want us afraid. Every packing of a suitcase requires thoughts about the holy 19, and that’s all the faithful are getting out of me. I know that living one day in anytown, USA is far more dangerous than flying. I’m at more risk from a cell phoner on the road or some pistol waving dope fiend than I am from all the minions of Allah. So why not have a laugh at the shaheed? If the best they can do to destroy western civilization is to blow up a Jordanian wedding and make some happy, decent people into corpses, widows, and orphans, they deserve mockery, not fear.

And NO, I do NOT slow down to look at traffic accidents, and I have seen, smelled, and heard enough people burned alive to last me more than a life time. I feel for the mourners, and I do NOT take the tragedies of others as entertainment.

So there are some thoughts, for what they are worth.

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