Death-box

I have been very remiss in my stoicism of late. And while there are many facets to stoicism the one that I have been most tardy addressing is that of dying well.

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I don’t necessarily want my death to be a messy, chaotic affair. It might well be… after all I don’t really get to be in full control over that particular event. What I can control however is the aftermath of my demise.

In lieu of this, I have created a Death-box(tm). Its less exciting (or indeed pandor(a)-ific) than it sounds. Its basically a black shoe box that will sit in my drawer at home waiting for that eventual moment to become useful.

It contains all the important ‘stuff’ that… well… someone else needs to wrap things up for me, all located in one convenient location.  At the top of the pile is a quick how-to-guide to access my trading account and close all my open positions. Trading futures… and then suddenly expiring… well… it could be REALLY bad. This needs to be done pretty quick post event… unless of course they are all doing amazing well (which they probably all will be because… well…. I’m dead)… in which case… *thinks* actually just close them.

While I plan on adding a map with the location of the treasure of the infamous pirate, One-eyed-Willy, I spent my weekend redoing my Last Will and Testament and getting that fine document in order first. That’s probably quite important… and it is/was horrifically out of date.

Also… while there is a fair amount of legalize… I did allow for at least some whimsy. (an element lacking in most wills and testaments I feel). Case in point…

 

On what should happen to my remains…

I wish to cremated. And then, if viable, have my ashes shot off into space. (preferably in a rocket capable of escaping gravity) but if not… I am happy to become orbital debris, a navigation hazard and otherwise deadly object to future spacefarers. Assuming this is not viable (or exorbitantly expensive, more than $1000.00)… cremate me and scatter me some place nice. I’m not picky. I am after all dead and unlikely to care what happens to my remains. Obviously, if the situation is thus that I am likely to be venerated or that my remains will become a focal point for pilgrims… then… do what you have to do. Statues or monoliths that need to be erected in such an event should not come from my estate by rather by some measure of crowd funding.

But first…

Please harvest and donate all my organs that are deemed still viable for transplant. Transplant only though, I do not want my body used for any scientific experimentation or learning. I feel weird about being sawed and hacked at by first year medical students.

 

My death is going to be awesome. Well for some.

Popcorn

As a neophyte stoic I fantasize about my own death quite regularly. Wait… does that sound morbid? I suppose it could also come across as suicidal. Really, I am none of those things, in fact, other than I think life is largely pointless I am quite a cheerful mf’er. I guess I just appreciate that the end point of life is death and I’d like my death to be done right. If possible. I mean I realize we often don’t get a say in these things. That’s why its important to prep (and consider) these things waaay in advance.

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In any event. THIS… has now been added to list of possible end-game scenarios. Ha ha.

 

 

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For more misadventures and wayward interpretations of stoicism, as well as examples of paragons that are WAY better at this than me, you can find all my posts collated…

HERE

Darwinism

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‘But I am very poorly today + very stupid + hate everyone + everything’ – Charles Darwin writing to his friend Charles Lyell.

I often see this posted to social media along with something trite like, ‘see, Darwin also had his off days’. Possibly with some comments further down critiquing his handwriting, the horror of which has led some people to believe that Charles Darwin was a lefty. (He wasn’t).

I think we should be allowed our ‘off’ days where we can wallow in misanthropy and self loathing and that it shouldn’t necessarily be bandied about post event as a character flaw or moment of weakness to make it seem to people that those being quoted were more relatable and somehow more human than originally anticipated.

I also often wonder about personal diaries and more intimate thoughts revealed in letters that, after the person has passed on, have been made available for public discourse (and indeed criticism). Marcus Aurelius famously helped spawn the mental models of stoicism (which I try with varying degrees of success to follow) with his own personal diary (which he never meant for anyone else to read) whose public availability I am very grateful for. So theres that. Also the dead can’t really complain about us profiteering (either mentally or materially) off their penmanship. Neither can they be embarrassed by their words anymore.

When I die don’t publish my emails. I feel I should mention this, even if I doubt anyone would ever be tempted to take on this baleful task. My correspondence is unlikely to be complementary or indeed even vaguely cerebral. For a moment I was bloated with hubris and I briefly imagined being someone of import or having (one day when I’m I’m big) done something profound with my life. When really, after a single generation I will likely be completely forgotten. Although perhaps not irrelevant, since to my decedents, without me, they would not exist. To be fair I don’t give any of my individual ancestors any thought or credence, thinking of them more as a collective. Still, I find that unbroken chain (that spans an insane mind bending number of astronomical and biological events) that has led to me being here to be a fascinating thought experiment (usually done lying on my back and looking up at the stars). I totally understand why people need to assign a deity to govern such a happenstance.

Maybe (coming back to the point) I shouldn’t sell myself short. I might still do something erudite (on the scale of the Origin of species) with my life which may lead people to seek out my thoughts on other more mundane topics (like my personal hygiene routine and what I eat for breakfast)

*someone in the peanut gallery starts laughing*

Although… to be completely truthful, contributing to humanity seems like a metric fuck tonne of work and really, I am far too lazy. It also would likely cut into my Playstation time which is quite a significant opportunity cost. (look me at me, not only considering myself comparable with the greatest minds in history and then being dismissive about my apparent talent, but then also making excuses for my lack of something discernible to show for myself after forty years on the planet). Yeah, I could build electric cars/terraform Mars for you guys, or I could play Red Dead Redemption. It’s a tough call.

I like using Elon as my go-to example (even though he is seven years older than me) for  underachieving because for a while at least, he lived close to me and went to the public school not far from my house. We also shared some Venn diagram overlap in terms of the books we read, the arcade games we played and even the games we created (although mine were in Basic). Me and Elon are more or less simpatico.

That last line might not be read with the sarcasm that I had intended and so I feel the need to underscore it for the casual reader who is not entirely familiar with my usual self depreciation and heavy sarcasm.

Although I think I had a better childhood than Elon. Mostly because my dad wasn’t a cunt. And that, at school, I hit back…  although in fairness my prowess in fisticuffs was not yet so developed and I rarely got to say, ‘You should have seen the other guy’.

I don’t think this post has a point… eh… anymore. I probably meant it to have one when I started out… but now I can’t remember what it was. I seem to have wandered off the path and into the brambles. My strategy now is sit down (before I hurt myself) and blow my emergency whistle until someone finds me. I may also eat this (emergency) sandwich while I’m here. And maybe also go behind those trees over there to pee. (Yes… despite being alone)

Hopefully y’all are having a particularly groovy type day. And since it is Easter Sunday, be cheerful in the knowledge that Jesus rose from the dead so that you could go to heaven (if you behave yourselves). Unless you believe in one of the other (illegitimate) gods I mean… in which case you should probably look into doing something about that…

Precipitation. And other things that will get you wet.

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Sometimes I succeed at passing myself off as having some semblance of stoicism… the point on the philosophy spectrum I’d ideally like to occupy. But really, I likely seesaw between cynicism and epicureanism, teetering back and forth, in a very uncommitted fashion. Not actual epicureanism mind you, which was quite a serious philosophy and not nearly as frivolous, or indeed gluttonous as the modern incantation of the word has come to mean. Although I tend to channel the more contemporary hedonistic definition thereof. *Joey takes another sip of wine* (which I stole appropriated from my parents house earlier today)

In my defence, it looks like a bottle that I may have gifted them at some point in time previously, the wine in question being woefully out of place in their otherwise… eh… dim collection. In so far as it is has (according to the description) intense black berries and cloves with hints of dried herbs and vanilla on the nose. A combination of blue berries and black cherries with a firm, juicy tannin with a long finish. 

Wine comes with its own particular brand of bullshit. In my humble opinion anyway. Although maybe I’m just challenged in the olfactory and taste bud department* since I  never experience ANY of that. Maybe I need drop acid and then drink wine… because well, I hate to think I’m missing out.

*which might potentially explain my mad cunnilingus skilz. I jest. I’m probably completely average… well I assume I am having never asked for rating on services rendered. Ego however prevents me imagining myself lagging too far behind my peers on the bell curve.

In true Dionysian fashion I’m combining my wine with Easter eggs. I went snuffling around the study cupboard earlier and found my wife’s stash. After my best puppy dog eyes routine (and then when that didn’t work making a high pitched mewling noise) she acquiesced and said that I might as well just eat them, if only I would shut up. This is how I roll. Sad and pathetic. And then pivoting into annoying (depending on results).

And on that noteworthy stratagem on how to succeed in life I will wish you all good night, Godspeed and an auspicious bowel movement.

 

 

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For more misadventures and wayward interpretations of stoicism, as well as examples of paragons that are WAY better at this than me, you can find all my posts collated…

HERE

Headgames

I suffer from depression (apparently). I know, what an incredibly passe condition.

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My head-doc tells me I’m genetically disposed towards this kind of chemical imbalance. I try argue with her that depression is symptomatic of something else and that anti-depressants are simply treating the manifestation of the cause. She counters that seizures are symptomatic for an epileptic and that some people are genetically disposed towards epilepsy, would I therefore argue that an epileptic forgo his medication and reduce their stress levels as a form of treatment.

I slump back down into my high back wing chair, momentarily defeated. I point out that a real psychiatrist should have a chaise longue or a settee instead of wing chairs. She says settees are for psychologists. I laugh. I tried Cognitive behavioral therapy once. It didn’t do much for me. Well… that’s not entirely true. Cognitive behavioral therapy is actually a lot like stoicism actually. You re-frame your problems, changing the way you think about them. I don’t really have any ‘real’ problems… other than I think life is pointless. (some might call that a biggie) That is to say I appreciate our complete and utter insignificance in the grand scheme of the universe. I find that annoying.

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I decided (on my own volition) to go off my meds. And had a massive relapse as a result. Which is why I’m back at the head-doc. Even though I think life is generally futile I prefer to be functional while I’m acting out my futility. The drugs don’t change your subjective feelings about the world, but you don’t mind it so much.

I used to judge people who were ‘depressed’. Toughen up. Or get over it. But if you’ve never experienced the crushing lethargy your brain can inflict on you it’s a difficult thing to appreciate.

Interestingly whenever they change your medication they ask you if you’re having suicidal thoughts or think about death. As a stoic I find I have to answer that question carefully. Eventually I went with, ‘Academically I think about death ALL the time’. But no, I don’t think about suicide, ever.

Except for the poisoned cupcake. Which is really more about euthanasia than suicide.

You should keep a poisoned cupcake in your fridge. The day you forget that the cupcake is poisoned and eat the cupcake is indicative that dementia or Alzheimer’s is now firmly entrenched in your mind… and things are going downhill from there anyway. Might as well end it (by accident).

I obviously don’t mention my poisoned cupcake theory. Most people I mention this to tend to look at me askance. I don’t really have a poisoned cupcake in my fridge. Probably because cupcakes don’t last very long in the domicile of the Jo. Poisoned or otherwise.

I ask how long before I can try go off my meds again. ‘Two years’ she says. I stare at her unconvinced. That’s a really long time I mumble. But the alternative is just barely utilitarian life where I struggle with the most basic tasks. So for the time being I will stick with the program. Annoying.

How are you?

I want to say this ‘kid’ makes a valid point. But then, looking at the handwriting I decided the evidence is not conclusive, this could have been me at age 40, so maybe I shouldn’t rush to any conclusions about the lifespan of the author based on penmanship. Whoever wrote this is clearly a philosopher though.

Why do we ask how people are? Clearly, most of the time we don’t really care. Well… I certainly don’t care how you are, unless you’re part of my niche circle of friends, family and confidants. This trite exchange has been drilled into me since birth and reinforced through social convention and it’s a difficult one to shake.

I have (lately) been trying to end my salutations with hi and hello and not necessarily take it to the next superfluous step. People are reluctant to leave it there though, most of the time I am ‘good’. I mean unless I have a gushing head wound, or other circumstance that may potentially be accelerating my demise faster than I would prefer. But having to constantly underscore that I’m ‘good’ feels like I’m bragging.

I tried briefly substituting other words into the standard formulaic exchange. But quickly found people weren’t really listening to what I was saying anyway. Or if they were listening it quickly becomes awkward for them. Words like irritable bowel syndrome and femoral hernia are like spike traps in the conversation free flow… especially if all you want is a pint and a pack of Marlboro.

In any event, I think we should stop doing it. Drinking, smoking and asking people how they are. Maybe give it up for lent… or take up a 30 day challenge. I think we’d all be better off.