Robert Cormack

1 year ago · 4 min. reading time · ~10 ·

Robert blog
Death Is Childish

Death Is Childish

Or is it us? (It's us).



I intend to live forever, or die trying.” Groucho Marx

I didn’t want to get into this in any meaningful way, except to say I find death childish. Maybe it’s just petulant and sulky. When death comes, we say, “Bloody hell, it’s death,” and death says, “What did you expect?”

Maybe death isn’t the childish one. Maybe it’s us. We expect a great afterlife, full of happiness and maybe even some adventure. We don’t want to rot in graves or come back as rodents. Even rodents don’t want us to come back as rodents. They’ve had enough of us as humans.

That’s not to say rot and rodents are our only options. There’s Heaven and Hell, of course. Both are probably crowded and loud. Upstairs, they can’t believe their luck. Downstairs, they can’t believe they’re sitting with their relatives. I wouldn’t be surprised if Heaven and Hell sound like casinos.

I’m more inclined to think our afterlife is one big airport. The other day, someone complained about waiting three days for their luggage. They stood in long lines of travellers. Bags rolled off the carousels. Thousands of them. But none were theirs. Heaven must be like that. Maybe that’s what they mean by eternity. It’s all about waiting for luggage.

You never see line-ups, either [on Star Trek]. Nobody’s complaining about their bags ending up in Milwaukee.

I could be wrong. Maybe death is more like Star Trek. Ever notice how nobody on Star Trek has luggage? One outfit pretty much does it. You never see line-ups, or people complaining about their bags ending up in Milwaukee.

There’s an orderly-ness on Star Trek. If that isn’t Heaven, maybe it’s Hell. It’s not like we’re orderly. Any airport — outside of maybe Zurich — is a mess. People treat lounges like their living rooms. They let their kids crawl across the floor. If Hell is like that, hopefully it has industrial carpet.

Charles Bukowski once wrote, “I carry death in my left pocket. Sometimes I take it out and talk to it. ‘Hello, baby, how you doing? When you coming for me? I’ll be ready.” I know he hated airport lounges. They made him sweat. He wrote a story about going to Catalina. He hated planes. He hated hotels. You can’t go to Catalina and not love both.

I haver no desire to carry death in any pocket. I get enough childishness watching the news. They just overturned Roe vs. Wade. Six Supreme Court Justices. They’ll come back as rodents. Not because any of them believe in reincarnation. They’re just due.

My wife asks what I want done with my ashes when I die. “Whatever you like,” I tell her. “I’ll be on the foredeck of the Starship Enterprise.”

I really don’t want to be a muffin when I die. I’d rather be jamba juice.

“Seriously,” she says. “I can keep your ashes in a jar, if you like. Maybe add some cranberries and chocolate chips like I do with muffins.” I really don’t want to be a muffin when I die. I’d rather be jamba juice. Maybe I should take this more seriously. Death isn’t laughing.

Funnily enough, the whole Roe vs. Wade deal is about death. These justices want to prevent the death of embryos. They’ve never met any, obviously. If embryos have feelings, we’d better stop eating eggs. How many Supreme Court Justices eat eggs? I imagine quite a few.

And what about the Catholic Church? They won’t give last rites to still borns. They claim they’re not human. Would it hurt to bend the rules a bit? I’m sure God does it occasionally. The Catholic one, anyway.

Religion’s been around a long time. It’s more childish than death. You want petulant and sulky? Ask priests to explain themselves.

I wanted to write this scathing piece about death. I started typing and funny phrases came out of me. When I was younger, I didn’t even enjoy writing. I had this quote above my desk: “I hate to write, but I love having written?” That’s fine if you’re published and adored. For the rest of us, it’s like having a sandwich.

Eat it and it’s done.

There’s the war in Ukraine, new Omicron variants, forest fires in the BC mainland. It’s like playing Whack-A-Ball.

I write much more now. Subject matter is so abundant. There’s the war in Ukraine, new Omicron variants, forest fires in the BC mainland. It’s like playing Whack-A-Ball. My biggest concern is time.

Not my own time. I’m more worried about everybody else’s. I took the vaccines. It seemed obvious at the time (same as forest fires). Other people objected. Who wants to get stuck with some unknown substance?

They’d end up in ICUs, saying, “Give me the vaccine.”

They wanted to be sure they were dying first.

Death likes to say, “I told you so.” It’s part of the childishness I’ve been talking about. Death makes that “tut, tut, tut” sound, and you know you’re done. We may see a bright light at the end. Some say it’s beckoning. Heaven could still be an airport. People die in airports waiting for a flight. Or maybe it is the Starship Enterprise. Either way, you’re still dead.

Mozart wrote his Requiem (first and last) about the souls of the dead. He died while writing it. Either death hates symphonies, or Mozart got caught up in his own rhetoric. The Requiem was considered his finest piece of work. But death had the last laugh.

Death usually does.

Vaccines bad, pro life good. Nobody sees a contradiction.

Writing articles is always a gamble. Someone’s going to be offended regardless. Possibly me. More likely anti-vaxxers. That’s if they read anything I write. Most prefer something that confirms their way of thinking. Vaccines bad, pro life good. Nobody sees a contradiction.

I don’t know why writing is soothing. There are other things I could do. I like to find driftwood that looks like something. One piece I picked up reminded me of a large hoof. I sanded it, varnished it, put it on a pedestal. People see it and say, “It looks like a big hoof.” I’m proud of that.

It’s small comfort with so much going on in the world. I wish it wasn’t so tragic. Each time I sit down at my MacBook Pro, I think of our inefficiencies, our waste. It’s everywhere. I say, “Oh, what a circus.”

I’m not proud of that. But I’m appalled by the fact that over a third of the world is obese while millions starve.

If Heaven really is a big airport, I wonder if the two will mingle. Fat and starving. Nobody’s fat on Star Trek. That clinches it for me.

When I die, am I going to an airport lounge? Or the foredeck of the Starship Enterprise?

And death? Well, it’s still childish. But I’ll keep writing about it. People my age need to know the score. When I die, am I going to an airport lounge? Or the foredeck of the Starship Enterprise?

Who knows?

Death doesn’t exactly give out itineraries.

Robert Cormack is a satirist, blogger and author of “You Can Lead A Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive).”


Robert Cormack

1 year ago #2

I guess I deserved that one.

Ken Boddie

1 year ago #1

Looks like there’s good money to be made in the death business, Rob. After all, the Grim Reaper’s constantly making a killing. 

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