Lately I've found I'm preoccupied by death. Not in the maybe-I'm-in-the-middle-of-the-movie-Final Destination-and-I'll-catch-my-death-train-around-the-next-corner, but in the more somber realization that eventually it will all end. I guess I've been thinking it could be sooner more than later. There haven't been any recent indicators of pending doom though; my daily life as of late has been void of near misses. No "Wow that was close!" followed by a gasp, failing health alerts, or death in my proximity (though driving a Lotus in Los Angeles traffic, amongst SUV's and Mercedes, can be considered a death wish). It's that I'm subtly dropping hints of mortality.
Last month I realized that indeed I don't have a will. I'm single, no kids, but am majority owner in a multi-million dollar company that is over a decade old. I probably should have something that resembles a will, might be a good idea. I called a lawyer to set up a time to meet. He was busy that week and suggested we schedule the following Wednesday. Unfortunately I had a business trip to Asia planned and would be leaving for two weeks. So I emailed him and said we would discuss when I returned. But my email didn't say that, it read, "I'll email you on the 21st if I don't die." Somehow I felt some comfort on the trip knowing I didn't have a will. My life seemed unfinished; I couldn't die.
That next week in Bangkok, while riding in the back of a Tuk-Tuk during Songkran (a huge New Year's celebration where they throw water everywhere, including hitting passing cars, and Tuk-Tuks, with brigade fired water hoses. No one is exempt.) I rationalized that I could not die without a will. Then I chuckled nervously and looked around, especially eying the flood gate of water rushing over the exposed car battery of the Tuk-Tuk, and had a second thought, "Famous last words."
I didn't die.
Before leaving for Asia I extended an invite to my cousin Stewie, who is 76-years-old and lives in Las Vegas, to stay at my place in my absence, while he visited his grown kids in Los Angeles. Knowing that he's not OCD like my father, my brother, my sister, and the rest of the family, the only requirement I gave him while visiting was "Don't die in my apartment." I even wrote it on a note by the bureau in case he decided to snoop around and had his reading glasses handy. Luckily he didn't die (and didn't find the note). He was too busy making a mess. I arrived home around midnight (days after he had returned to Vegas), jetlag in full glory, and immediately followed the trail of cheerios from the bedroom to the bathroom. While vacuuming it up ten minutes later (how could I sleep with cereal on the floor!?) I considered maybe a 76-year-old man, sleeping in a foreign place, felt comfort in knowing he would neither get lost or starve to death. The worst he would have to do is crawl on the floor to find his way while keeping well nourished. Actually not a bad idea but he should have used some kind of individually wrapped treat. "Oh, to live to be 76!" I exclaimed under the noise of the vacuum.
I'm fairly certain this sudden thought of mortality is fleeting. I've been watching too much TV -- yes, TV should be blamed for everything bad, as I don't play video games or listen to vinyl records backwards. Many of my friends have kids and many of my employees have spouses or kids, or both. I have neither. The closest relative proximity-wise must be my Cheerios loving Uncle fighting his odds in Vegas. If something happened to me I would want to make sure my employees are provided or, at a minimum, still have a place to work (uh oh, need to change the will--who gets my office??). I also worry about the number of people who would come out of the woodwork saying I promised them free HeadBlades, or proceeds thereof, for life in the event of my permanent absence. Wow; dying really does have its obligations. I think I'll put it off for a while.
I just changed the song playing in my iTunes, from Crash Test Dummie's, "At my Funeral" to the Beatles, "When I'm 64." I feel much better. I think I'll stop at the grocery store and pick up some Cheerios. I hear they're good.