Ammo Grrrll undermines timeless advice such as LIVE EVERY DAY LIKE IT’S YOUR LAST! She writes:
Many things in life do not bear closer scrutiny. For example, the German humorist Otto von Bismarck said long ago something to the effect that “people who love sausage and respect The Law should never watch either being made.” Or, as the Spinal Tap musicians concluded when commenting upon a particularly unlikely and grotesque death of a band-mate: “Better left unsolved.”
And so it is even with common phrases that identify as inspirational. How many times have we been encouraged to “Live each day as if it’s your last”? Seriously? Have people thought through the implications of that inane sentiment? Who would return their library books or pay their bills? Who, for that matter, would go to work? (“Yeah, I COULD have gone to the beach on my last day or called my relatives to thank them, but I didn’t want to miss the Mandatory Diversity Training Seminar. My pronouns are he they on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and she they on Tuesday and Thursday. I am non-binary, fluid and have Anxiety Disorder…”)
Moreover, unless you are lucky enough to die misjudging where that pesky curb is and plunge face-first to the pavement with such velocity that an open casket funeral is out of the question, your last day usually involves extreme lethargy and unpleasant illness. So that doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend “each day.”
Joe and I at one time decided that when we turned 90, on our 70th anniversary we would start smoking Lucky Strikes again (if they still make them). We would also drink heavily and eat ice cream for breakfast and chocolate cake for dinner. We would shoot at heads of cauliflower perched atop our patio wall (observing all manner of NRA safety rules) and make a giant bonfire out of dried kale.
Unfortunately, I come from genetic mutants who live practically forever no matter how devoted they are to doing everything wrong. So instead of dying happy the day after beginning that regimen, I would probably end up an obese diabetic alcoholic with emphysema who trudges on for another decade. NOT the way I would choose to spend “each day.” Or ANY day.
The second problem is that it’s easy to be wrong about when your last day will arrive. Even the wonderful columnist Art Buchwald made a mistake on that. He was living in hospice in the final stages of renal failure, rejecting dialysis, when, miraculously, his kidneys started working again. He checked out of hospice (which has to be some kind of a “first”) and lived another year, including writing a book about the experience!
The Herald Tribune (24 May 1989) quotes Mr. Buchwald thusly: People ask what I am really trying to do with humor. The answer is, I’m getting even.… For me, being funny is the best revenge.
God bless him! A man after my own heart!
So it’s possible that “living each day as though it’s [my] last” could involve some righteous revenge, or at least welshing on my final run-up VISA bill and making a few prank phone calls to the White House.
Now we all know that if a nasty leftist Mean Girl “comedienne” parades around with a bloody decapitated head of the President of the United States, that is defined as a harmless “joke.” Har de har har har, as I last said in about 1958. And, in Kathy Griffin’s defense, I would have to say that that was exactly as funny as anything else she has ever said or done.
But it goes without saying that if anyone from our side made a “joke” about, say, a meteor hitting The View, we would have the FBI at our doorstep within minutes to accuse us of making DEATH THREATS upon the lives of Whoopi, Droopy, Loopy, Ditzy, and Churro, the Pretend Conservative. So I am in no way advocating for such an event, just that “living each day as if it were my last” could involve praying for a meteor to appear.
I remember an interview with a brave man who really was living with a terminal diagnosis and the interviewer, putting on his Concerned Frowny Face, asked him how he managed to go on. He said, “Well, I worry a lot less about flossing.” Which really caught the interviewer off guard.
I took his point, but in reality, our medical mentors are constantly telling us that flossing influences not only oral hygiene, but heart health and even dementia. I think that’s mostly propaganda from Big Mint Dental Floss, but who knows?
Another popular expression best left unexamined is “I’m not going to beat up on myself over that.” Really? Why not? Almost always when someone says that it’s after he has either failed to do something he promised to do or has done a nasty thing to someone else. In other words, something where “beating up on” himself is probably called for. When I hear that, my silent response has often been, “Well, if YOU aren’t going to do it, let me volunteer to do it FOR you…”
Because, let’s face it, “beating up on yourself” is not that easy, physically, to say nothing of psychologically. Sure, disturbed teenage girls sometimes cut themselves, and if you are determined to do yourself in, there’s all manner of guns and knives and such, but that’s not actually “beating up on yourself.” Look, I TRIED to beat up on myself just moments ago. It’s a tricky business to inflict real damage to your body with your fists because the angle is all wrong. Go ahead, try it. I’ll wait.
You certainly can’t kick yourself in the head or the crotch or punch yourself in the kidneys, which are the elements of a real vicious beatdown like you see in a Jason Statham movie or in the girls’ locker room at any urban junior high.
A really determined self-beater could probably get in one good fist to the face on whatever side his dominant hand is on, but I imagine it would take quite a massive will and motivation to slug your own self hard enough to leave a mark. And if it WERE hard enough, it would be one and done as you sank to the floor.
So maybe “living each day as if it’s your last” entails loving everyone you can and forgiving everyone who has ever wronged you and just letting unimportant slings and arrows go. And also forgiving yourself when you are just as disappointing as the other imperfect people who share this planet? Maybe. All I know for sure is that the next person who voices the insipid tautology “It is what it is” is going to WISH it were his last day.