We are all going to die, that is something no one can avoid. One of the things that make death so intimidating is that we never know when it is going to happen. Even though I am just afraid of death as everyone else, I do have one distinct advantage: I already know the date when I am going to die.
In the winter of 1984 my friend Phil (Blind Dog) was having a Christmas party at his apartment. I didn't know a lot of the people there, it was mostly his work friends, but I did recognize the Christmas tree in the corner so, with drink in hand, I went over to talk to it. As Phil worked the room he finally made his way over to me. I stood near the tree and feigned interest in one of his childhood's homemade ornament that had 'Merry X-Mas' spelled out in macaroni glued to an inverted plastic cup painted white and covered in sparkles. Phil stared at me as I stared at the ornament and asked, "What are you thinking about?"
For reasons that baffle me to this very day I said, "I'm going to die on August 8th".
Phil looked at me, nodded his head in agreement and said, "Okay then," and went about with his hosting duties.
Up until that moment August 8th had no significance whatsoever in my life -- after that moment, it became a part of me.
Over the years my friends learned of my predication about the day I was going to die. I was often asked, "What year?" but I had no idea. As if predicting the actual date of my death wasn't good enough, I had to provide all the details (people are so lazy). This led to speculations as to what year would look best on my tombstone. When 1988 rolled around fingers were crossed, hoping this would be it.
"How cool would that look," several people said, "8-8-88."
I guess if you're going to die, you might as well make it look good. But the day came and passed to the disappointment of my friends. I couldn't take it personally that so many people rooted for my death because I opened the door with the predication in the first place -- and I was flattered that so many people wanted my tombstone to look cool.
My next opportunity for the cool tombstone came in 2008 but unfortunately (unfortunately?) that passed without incident. I will not be around when that next opportunity arises for that cool '8-8-88' tombstone. I'm not even sure if I'll be around for the semi-cool '8-8-18'. I don't exactly exercise, eat right, or take care of myself (my blog is called Conflict and Scotch for a reason). I do have high blood pressure, once had a blood clot go to my eye, and I'm about to celebrate the second anniversary with that mysterious pain that lives under the right side of my rib cage (it is so hard to shop for). Before I hit 50 those inquiries of my demise where strictly taken as tongue-in-cheek. Now that I am over 50 the calls I receive are of a more genuine nature.
Starting on August 8th of any given year I get a lot calls from people who say, "Just checking in" or ask "So how are you feeling?" or disappointingly respond to my answering of their phone call with, "Oh, so you're still alive?"
So once again that day is upon us. Will I live or will I die? Feel free to join in on this mortality game of Groundhog's Day. Be sure to check back on August 9th to find out the results.
Will Al die or will there be three-hundred and sixty-five more days of Al (three-hundred and sixty-six more days of Al during leap years)?