from July 25, 2005
Back in my home county, most folks were lovers of life. Even the Baptists were pretty regular folks when it came to this subject. Fact is, I’d even go so far as to say that even the Southern Baptists would admit, when pressed, that they preferred life to either not having been born or no longer being alive.
Not that there was a lot of talk about loving life. Or for that matter, about not being born. Being a lover of life was more or less taken for granted, and the same thing goes for having been born. But actions speak louder than words, as they say, and going by the actions on display when a proud momma and daddy showed off a bawling, red-faced newborn to their jealous friends and family, or when the friends and family of a deceased came to a funeral to do their Christian duty and mourn the hell out of themselves, you were led to believe that life was preferable to its two major stand-ins.
But nobody I can recall took the love-of-life philosophy to extremes. For instance, if your ninety-year-old granddaddy was ready to move on to the next stage, there was not a doctor in Pan County who would advise you to fix him up on the operating table. Well, okay. To be more exact, the one and only doctor in the county would not dispense such advice. Going by his silent actions, his philosophy was the same as everybody else’s. “There’s a time to be born and a time to die,” as the preacher would usually say at the graveside.
Standard wisdom. If I heard it once, I heard it three times. Namely, at the Panhandle County Cemetery, specifically at what they now call the “celebration” of the lives of Orville Slack I, II, and III.
I’m often asked . . . check that. If anybody bothered to ask me which I preferred, rotting in a wooden casket six feet under a clump of sagebrush in Pan Count Cem or being fried, smashed into an urn, and having the Myles Junior Think Tank Cremation Service outfit me with robotic equipment so that I could keep right on living, I’d say . . . well, I guess I’d prefer either one to having the doc threaten my friends and relatives with a guilt-filled life if they didn’t choose to let him fix me up so I could wheeze my way through another couple of years.
If pressed on this question, I’d go for the MJTTCM option. Standard wisdom. Or should be.