I just finished The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. (One of the things I’m learning in my writing workshop is that I know almost as much about critiquing literature as I do about makeup, but suffice to say Harbach’s novel is sublime. Just read it, K? There’s my critique.)
Hopefully no spoilers but, in the scene I was reading last night, there’s an image of a corpse buried two months in a coffin. And something about the visual — the casket’s gold-plated handles and the shrunken body — I don’t know, it just conjured one of those glimpses of my own mortality.
I usually think about death probably as much as the next guy. That is, when somebody I know dies, or a celebrity, or I read about a cancer victim in a newspaper article, or when the dude next to me doesn’t check his blind spot before changing lanes. But it’s a distant thing, an abstract thing.
And on the occasions that I do think about it seriously, I imagine myself demented and wasting away in a hospice bed in my 90s because that’s what my ilk tends to do.
Even that fantasy rarely leads me to contemplate the trajectory of my life in any behavior-altering way.
But that scene. That scene! My inevitable yet unpredictable death hit me so hard when I read that scene. It didn’t depress me, remarkably, though it was sad. It was more, I worry so much about Alzheimer’s and incontinence, but I need to remember that I really and truly could die today.
Like, this afternoon.
And the first thought that came to my mind was:
I should be having so much sex right now.
Seriously. The other thoughts came a little later: Stop spending so much time on Facebook! Market the goddamn blog so you can get paid to write! Tell people you love them! Quit worrying about things that might not happen! Carpe the motherfucking diem!
Yes, all those synapses fired, but the very first idea I had was: I can’t seem to con somebody into being in a relationship with me, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t totally be having sex all the time. Because that could be fun! Also because since I was, like, 18, my body’s looked like it birthed and suckled a 3-pack of infants, but after two years of CrossFit, at least it looks like somebody who’s tried to get in shape after childbirth. And at 37, how long is this going to last? I’m probably in the best shape of my life — for god’s sake, somebody should be seeing this naked before everything goes to hell.
Like, this afternoon.
Anybody free this afternoon?