08/28/2012 01:42 pm ET Updated Oct 28, 2012

Death My Ass

Dear Waldo,

I'm a long distance truck driver, and my cb handle is The Doom Master because all I think about is death. The main thing I don't get is how if someone (God) has the skillset to create people, then how can that same someone (God) not just make it so you never kick the bucket ever. Or at least keep it a secret that everybody has to keel over someday. What's harder, keeping a secret or making a person? Case closed. The fact is I think about the horrible inky blackness of death morning noon and night. You happen to have any helpful tips on this particular topic?


The Doom Master

Dear Doom Master,

I'm delighted to tell you that you're making the same blunder many many people make. You're thinking of Death as something negative. he fact is that nobody has the foggiest idea what Death is, or what Death means, or what happens after Death. This frees us from the ball and chain of Logic, which in turn releases two powerful forces: Fear and Imagination. This fantastic combo can result in sublime works of art but doesn't offer much in the way of packing tips for The Final Journey. What we need to do is come up with a way of thinking about Death that makes it less mysterious.

So what about this: I'm guessing, Doom Master, that you have an appointment calendar of some sort in which you keep track of things you're supposed to do in the future. It may be a weekly calendar or a monthly calendar or a yearly calendar. What I'm asking you to do now is to consider the concept of

An Eternal Appointment Calendar

Your Eternal Appointment Calendar can be a desk calendar or a wall calendar. Whichever type you choose, each has an infinite number of pages. I'm asking you now to spend some time thumbing through the infinite number of pages on your Eternal Appointment Calendar. As you'll soon discover, most of the pages look identical. Your appointments for most of eternity really boil down to just a single obligation:

Floating Around

Go ahead. Leaf through the pages. Eon after eon after eon: Floating Around. That is, most of the time, what you and all of us are being asked to do is to Float Around.

On one of those pages though is something like this:


It may be very difficult to find because you're thumbing through eternity, but it's there I promise you. Because it's your Life.

Doom Master, what if you think of your Life as a Fabulous Holiday. Holiday Time is a frisky time when you break away from the daily grind to do what you don't ordinarily do, go where you don't ordinarily go, wear hats you don't ordinarily wear, drink drinks you don't ordinarily drink. Oh sure, every holiday includes its hardships -- lost luggage, sunburn, internal parasites -- but the novelty and excitement more than make up for it. Holiday Time is a time to let loose.

Your Fabulous Holiday begins at Birth.

Then you have A Life.

Then you Die.

Now Your Fabulous Holiday comes to an end. And as you would do at the end of any Holiday, you just come back home. To really make this point come alive, I am going to put it in capital letters and center it:


Do you see what this means? Instead of being a mysterious, frightening experience that hurls you into the "horrible inky blackness", Death now just becomes the end of a vacation, a return to the familiar. A return to the way it was before you went on your vacation.

I have to tell you I really like this configuration. It makes me sad to think about the end of my own Fabulous Holiday, but it doesn't make we worried or scared. Holidays are fun, but after all the hullabaloo, isn't there something calming -- even appealing -- about the familiar hum of the routine? And with all of eternity looming and all of your Stuff floating around forever, is there any reason, any reason at all, not to believe that there will be many, many more Fabulous Holidays to come?

A good start might be changing your cb handle. May I suggest Guess Who's Back! Or maybe Doctor Boomerang. Or how about this: Dead My Ass. I kinda like that. I'm voting for Dead My Ass. Hang in there Dead My Ass.

Your Fan,

Waldo Mellon