Some Like It Fast

With all due respect to those who faced it, that final moment of reckoning really sucks. After a lifetime of having to live it as if it’d last forever, we’re supposed to be gracious and give it all up in a whim? Go ask the great minds of your age what they’d do. I, for one, will go on a limb and just improvise, my tenuous grip on reality not withstanding.
There isn’t any serious statistics about it, but I’ll risk saying that for every five people, at least one subscribes to that theory of life’s final footage. You know, a dying person’s “whole life passing by before my eyes” moment.
It’s not that anyone was able to interview credible witness of such screening, mainly because they’re all dead. Neither it’s that revealing details came to light ever about that final projection, as to whether it’s in color or black and white, for example.
Is it a complete edition of the full life or just a “best of,” a summary that may include a kiss shared in a crowded subway with a high school sweetheart, or that awful moment of realization that passing gas in public has other terrible consequences, other than being plain rude and annoying everyone around?
Another problem with that notion is time. Before it runs out for good, several issues should take precedence over taking the time to watch a most likely hastily assembled footage, even if it was shot in slow motion and photographed in sepia from above and set to a soothing Schubert soundtrack.
First, there’s the brain. You see, not all its decisions at that crucial moment may be necessarily, well, brainy. For instance, it may, misguidedly, attempt to stop the proverbial incoming bullet with a wave of the hand, a gesture not only completely foolish and unnecessary, but also one that’d compound to the overall misery of someone already very busy dying.
The brain may also waste another chunk of time trying to divert blood from other increasingly non-vital organs of the body, to its own survival. Who knows, maybe it’s betting that paramedics will arrive on time, with a brand new heart ready to replace the one that just got ripped off its cage.
And then there’s the no small matter of who’s mending the store. If the brain is busy trying to remain in control, and you are in shock, in coma and most likely unresponsive laying on your back, who’ll watch that film?
Or, to use yet another unproven but commonly reported experience, this time from those who do come back, who’s that semi transparent “you” walking the ladder toward the “warm white light,” to be welcomed by a “benign being,” as it’s described, to a place believed to be better than this one?
If that’s what they call “the soul,” your essence, “your real you,” etc, wouldn’t that be a bit too late for it to finally do something for you that you can actually see it doing it?
All religions, most faiths and certainly all the craziest cults out there share this defining assumption, that there’s something better beyond that will carry you through. It’d be hard to imagine any organized spiritual institution to last a day without this basic tenet, this golden piece of carrot dangling ever so slightly away from your reach.
It’s all good and jolly, of course, or as a pious priest used to say, “whatever the fuck rocks your boat.”
But there remains this nagging puzzle that won’t go away after so many confessions, millions of Hail Marys and endless curses: how much time will I have while that speeding piece of metal with my name on it hurling through space searches and finds my final so long?
Researchers say that a person can’t hear the pop of the gun that will kill him or her, in another one of those statistics that may have taken a few unintentional murders to be proven correct. Said person would be entitled to argue that those researchers are the ones that should be summarily shot.
If you ask, most people will say that they’d like to go fast. On their sleep, peacefully if possible, but please, fast. Fine. But what about time to enjoy that heart warming (or heart wrenching, your pick) last picture show?
On their eagerness to be done as quickly as possible, will they be able to fast forward some sequences? Will they trip over on the ladder and miss the chance to enjoy the greetings of their welcoming party? Would it all matter?
One final thought about that final thought. Will someone think about something completely unrelated or will they remain focused like a hawk, mortified to the end? Will you regret those missed opportunities, little thefts you didn’t commit, big water bugs you never failed to kill? As your blood runs down the curb, will you recall that time you forgot to watch the stove and the boiling milk spilled all over?
It’s doubtful. Most likely, you’ll be distracted as a drunken train conductor until the very last second, and then it’ll be too late. Your shot at redemption, at accepting your fate and all that will never cross your confused mind. You may even find yourself begging to stay to no avail.
As I figure it, it’d go on like this: in your agony, you’d see some beings in white coming your way. You’d surely tell them, hey, this is a mistake, I can’t be going now, so much to do and I’m just starting it. As they’re approaching, you’re thinking that you’d be able to walk away and finally prove without a doubt that there’s no last footage, no ladder you can see, no warm feelings of going back to something you didn’t think you were bound to return to in the first place.
They kneel next to you and you’re expecting them to say, it’s fine, we got you in time, all will be ok. But they don’t\seem to be particularly focused on dressing your wound or applying the defibrillator or anything you’d think would be in order at that moment. They’d just get closer to you and ask: can you see the white light?

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