During the three or four hours I spent last night at the emergency room (don’t ask; you know I am forbidden by the Rules of Not Acting Old to talk about my health), I read a really great passage in a novel called In The Woods by Tana French that goes like this: “We think about death so little, these days, except to flail hysterically at it with trendy forms of exercise and high-fiber cereals and nicotine patches. . . . Now death is uncool, old-fashioned.”
Death is uncool; I love it! It’s absolutely true. Death is so not done these days that, unless your brain stem has been removed and you’re older than, say, 105, you can never ever admit that dying might lie somewhere in your future.
Death is more uncool than flabby jowls, more uncool than cellulite, more uncool even than wearing your pants belted just under your manboobs. Death is more uncool than driving a Lincoln, more uncool than talking about your gallbladder operation, more uncool than smoking cigars around the baby.
What’s more, dying is a deliberately uncool act, like walking into J.C. Penney and buying yourself a pair of gray plastic oxfords and wearing them with knee-high hose and culottes. I mean, how dare you be so clueless? Haven’t you heard of Pilates? Super-low-calorie diets and red wine? Energy-field healing? Seat belts? Dying: there’s no damn excuse!
If you want not to act old, you’ve got to behave as the young do—as if you’re going to live forever. But unlike the young, who can skip dinner and slam back six martinis and dance till five and then go to work at eight, you’ve got to drink nothing stronger than Vitamin Water and get at least seven hours sleep to feel as if you’re not going to drop dead right on the spot. But even a life that’s no longer worth living is better than death, the ultimate uncool.
7 Cool Ways to Die (If You Must)
1. Crash your motorcycle off cliff
2. Get trampled by mob of crazed fans
3. Be eaten by shark while surfing world’s most treacherous wave
4. Have heart attack while having sex with 23-year-old twin bullfighters
5. Be thrown by wild steer in rodeo competition
6. Get shot in neck by poisoned dart while functioning as double agent
7. Throw self in front of bus to save innocent orphan
7 Uncool Ways to Die
1. Have heart attack while having sex with a prostitute
2. Get hit by bus while rooting through bag to find your cell phone
3. Smothered in your sleep by your overweight, blind cat
4. Have aneurysm while berating your spouse
5. Overdose on anticholesterol meds
6. Your life becomes so boring that your heart loses interest in beating
7. Start to cross street and forget to make it to the other side
From How Not to Act Old: 185 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Hot, Dope, Awesome, or at Least Not Totally Lame by Pamela Redmond Satran. Copyright 2009 by Pamela Redmond Satran. Published by Harper Paperbacks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
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