March 19, 2013

Today's My Birthday!

(From The Perry Bible Fellowship)

The insults that wound us most deeply, and the jokes that amuse us most profoundly, are those that are true. Then in the rare outstanding case, something simultaneously wounds AND amuses us with its truth - and that explains why I love this comic, and sometimes share it with friends on their birthdays (c. now, Monica, Chris, Peter, Emily!). I do it not only to play the devil's advocate, and not only because of my devious streak, but because I think such memento mori are valuable.

We all know people who do their best work when faced with a deadline (ha). 'Limited time only' sales catch our eye. Scarcity suggests value. Yet so many people go about their lives as if their days were unlimited... until one day, they'll be (wait for it)... dead wrong.

I say, keep a healthy awareness of death! Celebrate and dance on your bed now (while you still can). Do what matters to you today. After all, it's your birthday.

And now three corollaries.

On Living a Full Life
In my story notebook is the idea of a man who, out of overwhelming fear of death, purposely bores himself throughout his life, making time seem to pass more slowly and making his life seem to last forever. Only: he's bored throughout his life and probably WANTS to die. Don't be that guy.

Ramifications for the Artist
You might say one of the goals of art is to capture and reflect the myriad facets of the human experience. To do this faithfully we must actually LIVE it ourselves - not only the rosy and cheerful hues of life, but its dark shadowed corners as well. Otherwise when we try to depict things like sadness, longing, grief in our art, our efforts will be conjecture at best, and counterfeit at worst. Furthermore, it might be that we can truly know and appreciate happiness only after we have known despair. So artists: remember Death and his kin.

Get Yours Today, Before It's Too Late!
Now available: your very own Death Awareness Kit! Instantly increase the attention and intention with which you live your life! Order today, because you might be dead tomorrow! Contains three (3) baby tooth-shaped pencil erasers, one (1) hourglass counting down the seconds until your inevitable dissolution, one (1) femur-bone backscratcher, five (5) preserved eyeball marbles, one (1) authentic human skull dining table centerpiece, one (1) large-print easy-to-read (since your eyes might fail prematurely!) Doomsday Calendar, one (1) authentic human rib cage chandelier, one (1) hardbound edition of Handbook of Lesser-Known But Extremely Common Organ Defects and Failings, Infections, and Parasites That You Probably Have Already, and two (2) child skull cereal bowls. Act now: limited time only - your days on Earth, that is!

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