When I was writing copy for our high school radio program (Choctaw Chatter…Choctawhatchee HS, Fort Walton Beach, Florida), I don’t recall checking local obits as part of my beat. Funny, that. Obituaries weren’t at the top of my task list with the Parker Pioneer (Parker, Arizona), either, although I had moved to an editorial position, a job that involved receiving a paycheck.
I attribute these omissions in my journalistic diligence to my youth and ignorance. It hadn’t yet dawned on me that people died regardless of their age and their passing was–not just to them, either–a significant event. Now that my youth is gone, my hair is gray, my teeth are wrinkled and mini-me sleeps soundly through even the most enticing situations, I skim the obits whenever and wherever I find them. One never knows when I might discover my own name lurking there.
“So the son of a bitch finally died,” I might murmur. Or I may just heave a sigh of relief.
My army fright instructor (yeah, that one…) told me one day I might peer out through the yellowed and scarred plastic windscreen of an O1 and see something unusual in the sky. “What the hell is that?” I would murmur to myself. “Why, it’s a number,” I’d continue, my voice now harsh and scratchy. “It’s…it’s…MY NUMBER!”
Did I see a number outside my office window five years ago? No, not that I know of. I just kinda…well…shit…I don’t know what I did. My mind was transformed into a tabula rasa at least for the span of a few days on each side of that moment when blood stopped pumping in and out of my heart. That’s what hear attacks seem to cause.
Today, December 9, 2018, (yeah, my 5th anniversary of the big one) so far I can remember most of what I’ve done. I prepared a bowl of Seidenbacher (R) Number Two muesli mixed with fresh fruit. I consumed said muesli then I walked up the hill, down the hill, around the streets in the ‘hood. Three miles worth of traipsing. Later I freshened up a couple of my knives on a Spyderco (R) Sharpmaker then I ran them across a leather strop. I walked partway back up the hill so I could sit around and swap lies with my neighbor. (Not the thug next door who was out back smoking marijuana while he sold crack to his latest customers; I’m referring to the former Marine who shares a few of my values…what few values either of us still have…)
I did mundane things. I ate a slice of yesterday’s rye and whole wheat sourdough. Tonight Significant Other and I will watch a streaming video, an old movie that we passed by without comment when first it came out.
And likely tomorrow I’ll remember what I did without going back and reading this drivel. I’ll let you guys know.