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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, October 31, 2005

"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.


At 9:08 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

So true. I always wondered about why people didn't smile in those old pictures too. Was it because they didn't have teeth? Or bad teeth? Somewhere along the way, someone (might have been the photographer where I used to work) told me that the exposure took so long that the individuals couldn't hold a smile for that long. Also, to help them stand still, they had braces around the backs of their necks that went down to the floor that helped them stand still. Weird, huh?

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

I'm just here, essentially, because Kiki is a local and she's on my list,, that was a great post.

I look at old photographs and wonder about those things, too...and the bit about the "artsy fartsy chick?" HA!

Thanks for the good read.

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Charity said...

Oh, what a fantastic post. Great job, Stef! I'll have to look at the stars tonight.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Theresa said...

Another great post by Stef! Stef, I hadn’t read your post earlier because I was in a hurry and I hadn’t read far enough and I wasn’t sure I was interested in reading about “how Halloween became Halloween.” Oh man, I should have read it earlier because you made me laugh and think. Your posts always make me think!  I’m sorry about your friend. I wonder if La Dia Del Muerte (the day of the dead or whatever) made you switch topics. Anyhow, I agree that nobody is going to remember us, except for maybe our grandkids, IF we’re good grandmothers (i.e. fun and entertaining). I don’t remember my grandparents. They weren’t very fun or entertaining…except for my mother’s father who died when I was nine. He used to give me and my sisters five bucks for Christmas and bring us bags of beef jerky, which I loved. I’ll never forget him. I think I only saw him twice a year, if that, because he traveled a lot. But I’ll never forget him. The rest of my grandparents didn’t know I existed, which brings me back to your post. If you want to be remembered, at least by your kids and grandkids, be nice to them. Smile a lot and like you sort of said, “get over the small stuff” because nothing is that big of a deal when it comes right down to it. I always tell my kids to smell the roses and I say Hakuna Matata a lot too!

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

Didn't know you were such a philosopher, Stef! Although I probably should have. Thanks for the insights!


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