Admiring Dead People

I keep reading about the anniversary of Hemingway’s death. People seem intrigued by the fact he shot himself. I guess there are a select group who question if he had some help with that.

Okay…back away from the conspiracy nuts.

I admire some of Hemingway’s work. The man could write visceral descriptions and he was a great observer of his era. My fandom is tarnished by having read the standard palette of literary works in secondary school.

I prefer lighter fare now.

But the interest in his passing makes me think about the demised I’ve appreciated. There are lots of dead folks I admire, for various reasons. Maybe because they rode into history on an elephant or did something remarkable like build a 400 mile long wall, or because they took countless hours out of a terribly busy life to carve designs deep into a cavern wall 20,000 years ago.

I find it difficult to admire people who off themselves. I think it’s weak. I get all the reasons they do it…depression, clinical mania, melacholia, abuse, substance issues, stupidity. The list goes on.

Bottom line: dead = bummer.

No matter how awful the world is right now, things get better. Or you die of natural causes. Eventually you come back. No? Bet me. The only ones who don’t are the ones who kill themselves and guess what? They opted for not coming back. Weak. I’ve got a mental map of cemeteries and gravesites I cart around in my mind that is marked with the names of friends I’ve lost along the way. You aren’t special in your grief.

I’ve spent a lot of time with dead people, mine and those belonging to others. You get comfortable with it, but the idea of checking out before the rent’s up is something I never will be okay with. Ever.

This is one of those topics I’m not open to other points of view. Like the dogmatic fundamental posturing about evolution/creation. You’re never going to convert someone away from their point of view and why would you? Just let people think what they want, believe what they want. We all know the other side is wrong anyway, and sooner or later we all get to find out, don’t we?

Admiring people is cool because people do lots of cool things. Admiring people for killing themselves, not so much. In fact, I find myself losing respect. Living sometimes takes balls. Just suck-it-up and get through another day. If you don’t have a pair of your own brass, borrow someone else’s, cause tomorrow may be even worse. We won’t know until it gets here but eventually shit has to turn around.

Hemingway should have stuck it out. I wish he had. I wish he hadn’t feared the unknown, the insidious watchers, experienced the failing of his health, and I wish we had more of his words to peruse. It makes me sad that we don’t.

Tough love baby. I don’t lie to you…at least not about that.

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  1. #1 by Bridgette Booth on July 12, 2011 - 5:41 am

    I've had people close to me take their lives, and it hurts so much. We finally had to get to a point where we were furious with them and then let it go. I'm with you. I can't admire a poet or writer who takes his or her life.

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