But Would You WANT To Know?

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston has come up with a rather interesting device. Of course, those of you that are Seinfeld fans will recall, Jerry talked about it in an episode. It’s a super-computer that actually computes the time of the your death. It was a cute moment on the show, where Seinfeld is talking to a date in the diner, and says, “It’s counting down as you’re laying on the table…ten…nine…eight….and you turn to the doctor and say, ‘I told you this thing worked!'””

And it is now a reality. And it got me to thinking, is that something we really need to know? Do we even WANT to know it? I’m not so sure I do. And I’m not so sure it can really predict death. Oh, maybe through illness or natural causes, but what about the guy that the computer says has 35 years left, walks out of the hospital and gets hit by a bus? Oops. Sorry pal!

I’m not so sure that I’d want to know. My next door neighbor had cancer last year. It got real bad and he was in some severe pain at the end. I was the one that had to take him to the hospital for the last time because he wife was out-of-town. Of course, I didn’t know it was the last time…I just knew he was in a lot of pain, and was really, really sick. I’m not so sure HE thought it best to know when he was going to die (he lasted about 10 days).

And then that brings up the ethical question…are we supposed to know? Frankly when a person is born and when they are to die are things that God should know, not us. I am not so sure I want to know if I outlive my wife or not. They say men usually don’t, and I’ve prepared for that possibility. But I really don’t know as if it’s actually right to know when you’re going to cash out.

That said, I’d kind of like to know on one hand. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up in the morning and think, “Not today!”. Those of you that are in, let’s say the first half of your life probably don’t ever wake up and think that. You don’t give any thought at all of dying. But as you get older, it creeps into your subconscious. It starts to play with your mind a little. I often wondered how older folks could be so cavalier about death. Now I’m starting to realize that as you get older you think about it more, and you prepare yourself. Slowly…over time.

I noticed over the weekend, MSN had this thing that showed TV stars that had died this year. I was amazed at some of them. And I was amazed how young some of them were. What struck me were the people who died in their 50’s and early 60’s. Then I thought back to my high school days. We just had our 40th reunion this past July. I wasn’t able to fly back east, but did a video for the attendees…kind of a then and now perspective. I also did a second video that was a “in memory” video of our classmates that had passed away. We’ve had 36 classmates pass away between graduation and now. I guess out of a class of 460, that’s not too bad…but it still gets you to thinking.

I think the lesson here is enjoy your life…no matter what goes right or wrong. It’s the little things that you remember the most, and don’t worry about the end…it’ll get here soon enough!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!


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