My father called me today with the news that a youth friend of mine had died. He was born on the same day as me so he died 4 days before his 29th birthday, of a cerebral hemorrhage in his sleep. Father of a son.
Peacefully. At least they gave him that.
I hadn’t seen him in about 10 years so I was even surprised to remember his full name when looking him up on Facebook. He looks amazingly happy, but then don’t we all? I hope he was.
While on the subject, I told my father that I gave myself up for organ donation today. I happened to find myself in the right building today for paperwork, and did it on a whim, after noticing I could. So if I should die today, they’ll harvest me for pretty much everything inside me and fill me up with sawdust. I wonder if the doctors will notice my tattoo when opening up my chest. It’s downright bizarre to think about.
“Just so… You know. You won’t be caught off guard when they bring it up if I would ever… Yeah.”
-“It wouldn’t surprise me, no. Your mother did the same thing and they thanked me for bringing it up before they did. It was so typically her.”
I didn’t know that. I never knew she would, let alone that it actually happened.
I have a picture in my wallet of her, but I don’t recognize her face. It’s there so I would remember my roots, but other than that, doesn’t have much emotional value. In fact, I remember so little about her, he could have been talking about anyone when telling me about her.
And still… When he told me, it rocked my world. There are now people on this planet whose lives my mother saved. She was in perfect health when she passed away (ironically) inside the hospital, so there’s no reason why they couldn’t have used everything there is to be used. That’s what, 4 vital organs? 5? 5 people who got a second chance. Who now have a connection to my mother as real as my own.
Death is the end of a book. The final period, after which you close it, look up, and find yourself in a changed world. It is part of the book like any chapter, but changes it uniquely. Marking where the story ends, encompasses that story and it’s no coincidence that it often brings up remarkable things.
So it’s no coincidence that the death of my friend came full circle in a single, 7-minute phone call, encompassing the death of me and my mother, but also the life given by the passing.
The immensity is hard to bear- I don’t know whether to be happy, disgusted, or simply sad for my friend, whom I would probably never see again even if he lived longer than me.
I hope his memory finds peace, like I feel that of my mother did.
I hope his relatives and his son in particular, find comfort in the life before and after his passing.
It has been brought to my attention in the recent past, that I talk about my work a lot. I’ve begun paying attention to that and indeed, the majority of the stories I tell are about work. More often than not, my anecdote starts with “I was working for…” I guess it must be annoying for others, at times.
There’s a reason for that, though. I mean, a different reason than stagehand work is fucking epic.
You see, I quit school when I was 18. While you were finishing up your last year and getting ready for high school or university, I was looking for work, trying to tell people I wasn’t actually worthless without believing much of it, myself.
While you were told you could be anything you wanted, I was told I was a loser. That if I would quit school, I’d end up in the worst parts of society. And while you were graduating, I got a taste of what those worst parts are, finding work in industrial cleaning. The lowest of the most gruesome jobs the market has.
While you might have trouble deciding whether you wanted to be a doctor or engineer, I came home covered in grease, filth and undefined industrial waste. While you switched courses, I got fired because I wasn’t any good at the dumbest possible work.
Does it require me to draw a picture when I say, any step up from that position is an immense relief? The people I know in a similar position embrace mediocrity as a victory, but through hard work and blind luck, I got to live out my dream.
I cling to that. It’s my great accomplishment, the best thing I ever did. Every time I mention my job, I fill up with a sense of pride and want to sit my conversation partner down on their ass and explain every little fact, every detail, every happenstance my Swiss cheese of a brain can remember.
My job is constantly playing in my mind because it’s the best thing about me- I don’t feel I’m such a remarkable person outside of it. I want to perfect it, be the best at it. I have no clue what “it” is supposed to be but that will point itself out. I get better at what I do and I do what I like, so I assume that will pave the road to being awesome at awesome things.
From a nobody in the black basements of the steel factory, I got to climb trusses, talk to Lemmy’s guitar tech, handle sound and light like a fucking boss, find interns, take metal to the face, support local bars and venues, flirt with managers, nearly die a couple dozen times, overcome fears, work with people I grew to love, discover artists and music, get into pub brawls, offer work to others, eat alongside Seasick Steve, so yeah. I like to talk about that. Not your job. Mine.