Thursday, May 29, 2014

BEFORE I'M DEAD

In this world of watered-down words there is one phrase that's especially diluted and deluded: Bucket List. It's the nice label people use when they talk about things that want to do before they die, only they don't say "die" because that's unseemly, unfit for polite company.

So: bucket list. The phrase reminds me of Big Ed, our next-door neighbor in Los Angeles. He was sick and coughing and asked his wife to bring him a bucket to spit in, and during his last fit of hawking and gasping one of his legs shot out and knocked away the spit bucket. Big Ed kicked the bucket, literally, and ever since then it's been impossible to hear the phrase and not think of my neighbor.

I prefer the clean and blunt way of saying it. All the unfulfilled hopes, wishes and dreams of one human, laid out with a clear declaration — no prettified world of rainbows, unicorns and all-you-can-eat sushi. Just this: I want to do these things Before I'm Dead.

(Of course, if I have my way there won't be a time of dying, not anytime soon. The Immortalists will have done their work and I will be around in 2514, giving me time to think of more things I want to do.)

The tally of things still left undone isn't a long one. I've been exceedingly lucky — too lucky, in the eyes of some — and I've gotten to experience things that would knock most boys into the dirt, dick-first. Ask Bob Barker.

But there are a few lingering issues to settle.

Before I'm Dead I must rejoice in all that I have had, all that I have earned, all that I have enjoyed.

Before I'm Dead I must revisit the land of my birth and look out at the Pacific Ocean, and let the waters make smooth all the rough edges of memory.

Before I'm Dead I must visit the land of my dreams.

Before I'm Dead I must thank my mentors and heroes for their inspiration.

Before I'm Dead I must find the right words, the right tone to pay proper tribute to the bell. The first time I heard it I felt like a man who had been deaf for all his previous days. It was lovely, you see. In ways good and bad it changed me forever.

Before I'm Dead I must look up on a moonlit night and see the stars the way they look from the Pantanal. I must take the hand of my friend and say it and mean it: Com você eu encontrei a paz. Com você eu encontrei a esperança. Com você eu sou feliz.

There is no time to waste.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The toughest question of all! Who and Where is the "You" !