It's strange that every time a pretty twenty-something-year-old non-celebrity white girl is on the cover of PEOPLE Magazine, I assume they have either killed their child or are sleeping with the starting quarterback of the seventh grade football team. This is what reality television is doing to our society, or else I've watched far too many interviews with Nancy Grace. Regardless, those were the first thoughts that passed through my mind when I saw an issue last fall featuring 29-year-old Brittany Maynard on the cover (right next to a smiling Mr. and Mrs. Clooney), right before, Damn it, where were these teachers when I was in middle school?!
It turns out Brittany Maynard was not a middle school teacher, and as far as the world knows, never murdered a toddler. She grabbed the nation's attention by taking advantage of Oregon's "Death with Dignity" law, ending her own life after a battle with an inoperable brain tumor. I believe everyone has the right to kill themselves, whether it's from crippling depression or a brain tumor, but being the same age as Brittany, I found her decision surprising. Surprising because at 29 she was actually comfortable enough with what she had accomplished in life to move right along to whatever was next after death.
Kurt Cobain passed away at the age of 27 after changing the world of music. I'm now 29 and can cobble together a marginally useful Excel spreadsheet. I turned 29 recently, and I miss the time when birthdays were special. Gone are the days of getting your license, being able to drink legally for the first time, and finding cheap car insurance. Now, the highlight of my birthday is reading Facebook posts from friends I haven't heard from since high school who say things like, "Have fun on your special day." Lemme tell you, it's not that special spending eight hours a day in a cubicle sending emails that include phrases such as "mission critical." Mission critical… what am I, an astronaut? If only.
Birthdays used to be milestones I looked forward to; now they're just reminders of everything I haven't accomplished, even though I'm 1/3 of the way dead. Kurt Cobain passed away at the age of 27 after changing the world of music. I'm now 29 and can cobble together a marginally useful Excel spreadsheet.
I had a revelation on my birthday this year: I never want to die. Not dying is going to become my life's work. If you're wondering if my opinion would change if I had a car wreck and was a vegetable laying hospital, the answer is no. If that happens, I want my wife to be aware of my two wishes. Number one, don't you dare pull that plug, and number two, do not date any of my friends. "But Dru, don't you want the opportunity to experience Heaven??" I sure don't. And while we're on the subject, I would rather not experience Hell either. I'm pretty content to linger in middle-class American purgatory.
If I fail in my life's work and do happen to die one day, let it be known I do not want to be buried or cremated. Please Walt Disney or Ted Williams my ass, and put me in the freezer. I have no problem waiting there until some genius astronaut returns to Earth with an alien technology to bring me back.
Of course, this is all very easy for me to say, considering the past 29 years have been a relative cake walk. Normally, everyone has a sad story and serious hardships in their past. Me? I still have all four of my grandparents and my parents, everyone is still married, and my college was paid for. I have friends, brothers, and a wife who make my birthday special, but that doesn't change the dissatisfaction with the lack of chasing an unlikely dream.
About once a week, I'll be sitting in my work cube, taking in the only sensory stimuli available— typing and phones ringing—when Gary, my cube neighbor, will drop by. "How's it going Gary?" I ask. To which he undoubtedly responds, "Oooohh, just another day in paradise, hahaha." Eventually he's going to ask me the same question and I will look him in the eye and scream, "WE'RE ALL GOING TO FUCKING DIE ONE DAY, DON'T YOU REALIZE THAT!!! COME ON, GARY, WE'RE GOING FREEZER SHOPPING!!"