The I’m-Too-Young-To-Die-alogues: The Conclusion
Last week I started reporting on the ongoing conversation between my inner-19 year old, and me now — my 61 year old. This week, they conclude, but not before getting an unexpected visitor…
19: C’mon man! You don’t have much time. In a few years, you won’t be able to do the things I still want to do!
19: Like going to a water park…in the Bahamas! Or in Rio! Like let’s play all night in the city! Drink one too many! Have an adventure! Boogie!!
61: I’m getting tired just listening to you.
19: Listening to you I feel disappointed I ever got to be so old! I mean, without sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and revolution, what’s there worth living for?
61: New things. If I lived like you now, I’d be doing things that are young…but old to me. I want to do new things.
19: Like what?
61: Reading a good novel. Writing. Taking my time…yeah: taking my time! Slowing my mind down every now and then so I can fully arrive in the moment and fully feel whatever it is I feel.
19: And that’s called growing up, huh?
61: It feels more like growing down. Not looking outward and upward all the time, but downward and inward. It’s not easy to quiet down, especially these days. But when I do it, it’s always rewarding.
19: Plus you got your kids, right?
61: No kids, Charley.
19: (In shock) No kids?!
61: I know. I’m…
19: How could you do this to me?! I always wanted children like mom and dad did. (Starts to cry). I always wanted to eventually move to the country and raise kids with someone.
61: Sorry. I’m disappointed too.
19: Disappointed? I’m pissed! So are you all alone? What gives?!
61: Charley, I’m on my second marriage. In the first one we tried – we had five miscarriages, and finally decided to adopt instead.
61: …And split up right before the baby arrived.
19: Sheesh! And the second marriage…?
61: She has two grown kids of her own, and long ago had her tubes tied.
19: People have tubes now?
61: Don’t worry about it.
19: (sits; crestfallen) No kids…
61: To be honest, it just hasn’t been that kind of trip for me this time around. What I really needed was to find myself. The path I finally chose, it’s different. I guess I stayed off the beaten track, like dad and…like you.
Death (sneaking up behind 61): BOO!
61: (jumps, freaked) AHHG!!!
Death (a/k/a Mr. D) (laughing): Gotcha again!
61: Don’t do that to me! You always do that!
Mr. D: I love how it freaks you out!
61 (to 19): It’s easy for you to laugh! He can’t touch you!
19: Hey – he used to scare me too!
Mr. D: I’m just trying to teach you a lesson and you never want to learn it.
61: I’m trying to forget it!
Mr. D: Trying to forget about me is like drinking more at the bar to try to forget about the tab you’re running up. It only makes things worse.
61: I just wish you’d leave me alone!
Mr. D: You ignore me at your own peril. I keep scaring you until you get used to me hanging out. Because I’m always there, right behind you. You’re listening to your 19 year old there, but you should be listening to me.
19: Why? I’m his best friend!
Mr. D: But I’m his best advisor. And you know what? Your conversation is bullshit!
61: Really? 19 here is trying to get me to remember him and rejuvenate my life with his shenanigans, before you snuck up on me to try to scare me to death!
Mr. D: I should scare you to life, but not as a 19 year old.
61: You got a better idea? I should act 61 which is closer to you?
Mr. D: You should act like I can come at any time.
19: I did!
61: Yeah, and he didn’t come! And so I didn’t plan for my life like I shoulda!
Mr. D: That’s cause you let me scare you…scare you into living like there’s no tomorrow.
19 and 61: But there may not be!
Mr. D: It seems to me that so far you’ve had quite a few. What if I don’t come until you’re 90? What kind of life will you have then if you haven’t planned? You live in fear and repulsion of me instead of simply respecting me.
61: But I hate you!
Mr. D: Then you’re an idiot, and it’s why you keep refusing to look at me, talk to me, or even acknowledge my existence…except that you’re always imagining me lurching like I’m ready to pounce on you from behind at any minute.
61: You are!
Mr. D: I’m not. I’m just waiting for your time. Listen – 19 is telling you to get high and get laid; to play and dance and use your body while you still can. I’m telling you to get still, so you can be here while you’re still here. You’re living desperately, fleeing in futile fear from me. You call that living? I call it running; running and skating across the surface of the deep lake of your life.
19: (To 61) I still say remember me because I can liberate you from all your ruts!
Mr. D: I say face me. And tremble if you must, but keep facing me, and you’ll wake the fuck up!
19: Ok, enough!
Mr. D: You know what your problem is? You want light without shadow; up without down; good without bad. You want the impossible. It’s the bad that makes the good look good, and the down that makes up feel good. Don’t you get it – nothing can make you feel alive like me!
19: (To 61) Look bro, this is all just too morbid for me! You want to rub your face in this ghoul’s blather all day? He’s talking about living? Let’s live! When he comes, he comes! (Turns to face Mr. D) I was scared of you, cause you took my mom from me when I was just waking up – so fuck you! (Spits on Mr. D, and turns back to face 61). Look – we’ve made it to 61! We might make it to 100 for all we know! Maybe living in fear or “respect” of him, and dealing with his ugly ass all day is what he calls living. I call it dying prematurely. Living in dread is a dreadful way to live. Now let’s get the hell out of here! (They turn and walk away. Mr. D remains at 61’s back).
So Mr. D didn’t get his chance to deliver his advice (at least not yet). But he was kind enough to write it all out for the rest of us, and I was somehow able to procure a copy, so here it is…