ASK THE SMART GUY: Monthly column by Dennis Latham.
Question of the Month: Why do we fear death?
Weasel in Hell
Luckily, we're not all like Weasel Rigatoni. He never worried about paying unemployment compensation.
To quote the 1920s gangster Weasel Rigatoni: "Death," said he,
"is a way of telling your employees dat dey is unemployed."
Many words describe this last traumatic event: croaked, buying the farm,
planted, blowed away, wasted, taken for a ride. As a man, I add chick-flicks and marriage.
One religious sect even believes that, if you've been married at least twice, you
qualify for a job as a tour guide in Hell.
(I qualify for upper management in that job category.)
Physical death can be painless and quick or a long, agonizing process.
I do not fear physical dying, having faced it too many times from pointer-poking Catholic nuns and angry,
(When you claim to be a smart guy, people may become angry.)<
I did experience a form of a long agonizing death years ago when a family
member forced me to sit through the Brooke Shields movie Blue Lagoon,
and then a few years later, I begged to be put out of my misery during
Bridges of Madison County.
(Iím old enough to remember when you could still
smoke in the movie theater and they had real ushers you could hit in the back
of the head with hard candy. They also had real balconies where you could gag
and pour vegetable soup over the railing and watch the fun.)
I think we fear most what comes after death, which could be
nothing. That's the scary part. You tried to be good your entire life for nothing. Then
you end up being nothing, angry about nothing. So, we have the bright light
theory. Survivors of near-death experiences claim they saw a bright light and
dead friends and family pulled them toward the light. Scientists claim the human body
shutting down causes the bright light illusion,
but they don't know for sure. I believe the bright light theory because it's
better than nothing. I have accepted that my brain function will cease and I
will pass on to a place where one meets departed friends and relatives. This
could be a good thing, unless, like me, you owe them money.
So I say we fear death
because we fear change. Passing to another
life form under bright lights is the big change. Daily life may suck but most
of us are comfortable with it. I just hope the bright light isn't a subway or
an all-night burger joint. I don't want to spend eternity trying to get into a
toilet filled with puking drunks or have to read endless advertising. But what
really makes me fear death is the bright light might be an entrance to a theater
showing an endless chick-flicks.
But I could always
trade it off for a job as a tour guide in Hell.
Ed. Note: I am told that The Goddess in his life more than once threw him over her knees and gave him a severe spanking as he wrote columns like this. Allegedly, he liked that a lot. [JTC 2021]
Closing Note: Photo of the Employees' Toilet in Hell: