It’s Friday the 13th and we’re all gonna die.

In the time-honored, slasher-movie tradition, those of us smoking pot or having sex will die first.

Okay, okay. These two things aren’t really connected, not in this piece, anyway. I just noticed my regular Friday post would be going up on the 13th and I thought I might sucker a few more people into reading it. (By the way, I’m a total wuss when it comes to filmic gore. I actually cover my eyes when the ominous music starts pumping and the knives, guns and chainsaws come out. Also, in terms of superstitious beliefs, the Friday the 13th thing is about as dumb as they come. Boatloads of bad things happen on Friday the 12th and Friday the 14th. You can look it up, Mookie.)

I hate to be the one to break the news that we’re all gonna die, because I’ve worked hard to establish my rep as B2L2’s Pollyanna-in-residence.

Human beings are born in much the same way all warm-blooded mammals are born. If you’re not clear on the concept, ask mom or dad for details.

Some human beings only live for an extremely short time. This is terribly sad, and usually the result of circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

Barring accident, war, illness, crime, suicide, extreme deprivation, and other not-nice occurrences, we’re each allotted a certain amount of time to wander around on the planet and do our thing.

And then we die.

We will all, sooner or later, kick the bucket. Buy the farm. Take the long dirt nap.

I don’t want to die. Death sucks. To be honest, there were times when I didn’t really care if I lived or died, but that’s a subject for another day. Right now, the gauges look good.

Yet I still do things to jeopardize my chances of reaching the age at which statistics tell me I should arrive before it’s my time to shuffle off the mortal coil. (If, by chance, I omit your favorite euphemistic phrase for dying, please feel free to add it in the comments section.)

Right now, I’m enjoying cup after cup of delicious coffee. I know this isn’t good for me. I know it can contribute to a whole bunch of potentially lethal health issues. But I do it anyway.

Later, when no one’s looking, I’m going to sneak a Marlboro or two. Even Bob Johnson knows this is idiotic. Bob Johnson actually runs away when I light a cigarette. He’s a smart dog.

That all human bodies ultimately cease to function is not a proposition. It’s not open to debate.

Some of us believe we have souls, and that our souls will, at the time of death, be elevated or demoted to another sphere of existence.

Some of us believe our souls will be reincarnated in a brand-new human being, or in the body of a different species, or in an inanimate object.

Some of us do not believe at all in the existence of the soul, and, in fact, consider the idea to be pernicious nonsense.

I think that covers the bases. Again, the comments section is conveniently located below. Chime in. Don’t cost nothin’. (Yeah, I have memorized every line of dialogue in Animal House.)

If you think I’m about to weigh in with my opinion on the existence or non-existence of the soul, well, you are sorely mistaken.

There are only a few things I know for sure:

  1. I am alive.
  2. Coffee is delicious and I drink way too much of the stuff.
  3. I really shouldn’t smoke.
  4. If you tell me I shouldn’t be sneaking a ciggie now and then, I will cheerfully tell you to mind your own business.
  5. Animal House is a great movie.
  6. We’re all gonna die.

The late Warren Zevon is one of my musical heroes. In 2002, Zevon was diagnosed with inoperable mesothelioma. He faced the remaining months of his life with the courage and trenchant sense of humor that had helped secure his reputation as an artist of the highest caliber.

Later that year, David Letterman, a longtime fan of Zevon’s work, invited the singer to appear on his show. It was to be Zevon’s last public performance.

During that broadcast, Letterman asked Zevon if his illness had given him any new insight into the human condition.

Zevon’s response is now legendary.

“Enjoy every sandwich,” he said.

I think I’ll have one right now. Nothing fancy. Two slices of wheat bread, a spoonful of Hellman’s. A few slices of tomato sprinkled with black pepper.

Mr. Zevon, sir? Wherever you are, thank you for the songs. They’ll always mean the world to me.

And the sandwich tastes great. But I know I don’t have to tell you that.


John Hicks is growing on you. Treat with lotion.

About the Author

John Hicks

Havin' a wild weekend.

John Hicks lives outside the city limits, where eagles dare.

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