"He blew his mind out in a car..."So today is Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, or, if you're in Mexico, La Dia Del Muerte (The Day of the Dead.) I thought I'd blather on about the history of this holiday, or maybe get into all the traditions and how they came to be.
But I'm not gonna do that. Instead, because a close family friend died this weekend, I'm going to chat about something far more esoteric than candy and costumes and vague religious connotations that have been lost through years of blatant commercialism and radical witchmongers and some pretty wacked out people who take advantage of the dead thing and use this day to make mischief. (Incidentally, the family friend was 83, and suffering, so I can comfortably say, it was his time to go. May he rest in peace.)
Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered what's out there? If you haven't, you are clearly a loser who has no connectedness to humanity and should stop reading this blog immediately because what I'm about to say will make you confused and likely to question your narrow reality. You're also probably the only human on Earth who doesn't look up at the night sky and wonder, "What's out there?" The huge infinity of it blows us away, makes us feel insignificant. I can confess now, the ocean does the same thing to me. I mean, what is down there? Some Japanese dudes recently made history by taking photographs of the giant squid. A guy here in the States spent his whole life looking for it, and these Japanese guys found it first. He was glad, but I imagine he was bummed just a little bit. Did I mention he spent his whole life looking for it?
Where was I?
Oh. Yes. The existential thing. So we've established that everyone feels insignificant in the Universe of God Knows What's Out There. Now here's something I bet you haven't thought about. In one hundred years, who will remember you? I mean, really remember you? Or miss you? Or even have a clue who you were? I thought about this while I was at a ginormous Antique Show with my mother and saw a whole stack of those old timey photos. You know, the kind that are brown and white, and the ladies look pinched and the men look constipated. I'm standing there, looking through these photos and wondering, who are these people? Why did they have their photograh taken that day? Were they happy? Hard to tell in old pics, because nobody smiled. What's up with that? Reminds me of my brother, who never smiled in any picture until after he had braces and his teeth were straight. People get weird about photos, I guess because they think someone, somewhere, a hundred years from now, will look at it and wonder if they had buck teeth, and that's why they didn't smile.
Where was I?
Oh. Yeah. Who will remember you? Yes, there are historical people we remember, but we don't really. Remember them, I mean. How can we? We never knew them. We don't remember William Shakespeare. We read his work and think he's a genius and say, "Man, that guy was a genius," but we don't think, "Whoo damn, Will was hot." Or, "That Bill! Sure loved a practical joke, didn't he?" Or even, "I knew William Shakespeare, and you're no William Shakespeare." Bottom line: In a hundred years you'll be dead. And you'll have been dead so long, pretty little Mexican women won't come into the cemetery on La Dia Del Muerte and leave small offerings in your memory. You'll be lucky if some artsy-fartsy chick stops by and does one of those pencil shading things of your tombstone. No one will miss you, because everyone, and I mean everyone who knew you will be dead too.
Kinda blows your mind, doesn't it? Now before you think to yourself, Stef is such a downer, and I hate her because she just depressed the hell outta me, let me finish. The message is positive, if you think about it a little longer and put some energy behind it. Because here's the deal: Nothing is permanent! Don't sweat the small stuff, and in the end it's all small stuff. Stop and smell the roses. Hell, take some home with you and smell 'em a lot. Kiss your family. Hug your friends. Enjoy your life, and all the people in it. Because some day, you'll be gone, as will everyone who ever knew you. Your page of history is written and it's all over. Make your life count while you're here.
Go give some kids some candy. Scare the hell out of 'em while you're at it. Make this the Halloween they remember as the Very Best One.