Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Staying alive until 2-12-2092

I watched an episode of Star Trek last night.  Well, it was The Next Generation, and it was the series finale.  Before the debate starts, my order is: Trek, Wars, Deep Space Nine, Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers.  Also, Sliders.

Back to Star Trek.  I’d never seen this story before.  It tells a very interesting tale of a life lived in reverse, with perspectives of past, present, and future all influencing the other. 

I’ve been ruminating on the memories of my life.  These require me to go backwards in thought, but forward in motion.  The thoughts themselves are just a memory, and despite how I speak of changing their nature, they are ultimately static in the effect they’ve had on our existence.

What if we could just live life backwards, though?  Hit age one hundred thirteen, crest over the edge of death, and just walk in reverse for another one hundred thirteen years?  We’ll assume that a fair number of people are doing the same, just so the obvious comment isn’t, “Holy shit, Hansel - haven't you been smoking Peyote for six straight days, and couldn't some of this maybe be in your head?” 

Walking shoes would just have to be silly.  The older you got, the more blinking neon lights would be present.  And moonboots would continuously be in fashion.  Sadly, so would Uggs.  I mean, people do realize the way they make your feet look is right there in its damn name, right?

Hawaiian print shirts wouldn’t be hipster.  I mean, sure, you went through that phase when you were twenty, but what are you going to wear when you’re 180?  I know what: the same damn shirt, with the same, worn out pair of chucks and khakis.  It was cool a century ago, and my generation is making it cool again.

How would you market Depends adult diapers?  I mean, the older you were, sure, there’d be a market for Huggies.  But, diapers for your failing sphincter during your midlife crises?  Yeah- doesn’t do it for me.

Let us talk about the things you would want to worry about.  Now, time is flowing in one direction, but you are living through it in contrast to your own.  As the years go on, you get younger- the clock does not start turning back completely.  There’s still consequence, there’s still a life of memories and regrets.  Your first love is going to be the same age you were when you first met, and getting younger still.  She will also carry the memories of two or three times our life spans will entail.

Hell, forget that – if you married your high school sweetie, that’s nearly two centuries together, if you beat the odds.  You see her as young and vibrant, wizened and aged, old and frail, and back again.  Do you behave differently on the way down?  Would you treat her differently, or be just as devil may care?  Would you keep taking the same risks you’ve made your entire life, or would you actually learn from the other side of that hill?

Nature’s a hard thing to change, though.  Just imagining this concept is enough to befuddle most.  I’m not just talking about the birds and the bees, the pollen in the trees, and the seven seas – I’m talking the patterned nature of all living things.  As much as I can harp on about choice and changes, it will always have a personal touch to it – the personal nature.  ‘Nature’ is our comfort zone – it’s what we’re used to doing, it’s what we come back to.  Som we do it again and again and again ad nauseam until the grindstone wears our bloodied faces down to our teeth.  Defying that – making new habits – means rewriting that nature. 

Today, I propose to you this: what is ‘Nature’?  Max Landis, writer and director of YouTube sensation “The Death and Rebirth of Superman,” postulates a simple concept: How do you kill a vampire?  The answer is commonly a litany of tools, water, prayer, some regional variations on blood sausages, etc.   That’s the nature of the beast, we think.

Wrong.  “You can kill a vampire however you fucking want, because vampires don’t fucking exist.”  They’re fiction, people.  They come out of our minds to play, and we put them back there when we’re done.  But for some reason, we can only play with them if using the rules we’re told need to apply.

Sound familiar?  Sound like…. Daily life, maybe?  Clean that smudge off, tuck in your shirt, take your antibiotics, don’t kiss with saliva, act your age – our lives are a catechism on not living; on not being ourselves. 

Today, I challenge you to this: kill a fucking vampire.  And do it anyway you want.

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