Archive for category Death

Schrödinger’s Car

Hi Honey - today car park funny ... not get mad nah?

A car, along with a gender-neutral person of no particular ethnicity holding a Zippo and a can of gas, is placed in a sealed box shielded against environmentally induced quantum decoherence. If an internal handbag mirror detects a V-sign, the Zippo is sparked, igniting the gas that sets fire to the car. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the car is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we look in the box, we see the car either alive or dead, not both alive and dead.


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Round the Mulberry Bush

Monday        I’m a creationist; I refuse to believe that I could have evolved from man.

Tuesday        I know it all.  I just can’t remember it all at once

Wednesday      I doubt even my doubts.

Thursday        I think I’m doing fine, method-acting in my own life … and then it hits me: this is what I have become and this is really real.

Friday        The only reason I’m not angry all the time is lack of enthusiasm.

Saturday        I fully realise that I am depressed because of my inability to construct a future.

Sunday        I used to get high on life but lately I’ve built up a resistance.

Monday (again)    I’m a creationist; I refuse to believe that I could have evolved from man.


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Hollaback Bird

The next time you’re walking along a neon-lit city-centre street on a rainy night, look down and see the marvel that is an underwater burial ground for parrots.

(Tom Robbins-ish)

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Off course, Of course

Time, as we all know, is relative. It is measured on different scales, by different people in different situations, to deal with different interactions, different circumstances. Forgetting existentialism for a moment and notwithstanding “wasting time”, “killing time” or even “spending time”, what do you do when there is, quite literally, not enough time?

When your time is finite. (Of course, everyone’s time is finite, but what do you do when you know how much time you have left?) When you know the maximum amount? What do you do?

What do you do when that maximum amount of time is not enough for you to do anything that is still on your list. There is not, even, enough time to go out and sell. No work you could do in the time left would provide enough money for you to achieve a single goal, to have any more of the life that you value. What do you do then?

Of course, you could always cheat. You know the maximum but it’s up to you if you wish to introduce a new minimum. Satre said that there’s no more powerful man than he who’s decided to die but, believe me, it sure as hell doesn’t feel like power.

When you know what happens. When you know that after life there is nothing. When the chemicals cease to react, to interact when everything just stops – there’s not even the

knowledge or thought or dream that you’ve ceased to exist – there’s just nothing, a void.

That’s pretty much the opposite of power … it is death.

So what do you do, except die?

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The light is not bright and you can whimper if you want to.

It will come to a point where there is nowhere I can go . Nowhere to go so that I can escape. I will not be able to get away. I will not be able to stand it any longer. There will come a point when the consequences seem small and the action unavoidable – something that must be done. I will do it. I will kill them all.

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Stranger than a 2CV

You know, you’d think that someone who could save a penalty with their head could get out of the way of a 2 C.V.

Still, it was the start of the sixties: maybe he got an early start.

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Health and Knowledge and Wealth and Power (Passion and Poems and Sex)

–It all comes down to this.

Once muscle has died then, like any other tissue, it cannot be regenerated. Once dead, it stays dead. The heart consists largely of a special muscle, and unlike, say, the liver, it does not have any redundancy : it is all used all the time. It follows, therefore that when heart tissue dies, the heart effectively becomes smaller and has a correspondingly reduced capacity. This dead heart tissue is called an infarction, hence Myocardial Infarction –> M.I. –> Heart Attack.

Jack opened his eyes. He had no idea where he was or what had happened. He had a large tube down his throat (he didn’t know it but this was keeping him breathing) yet felt no discomfort. He was strangely calm. There were machines. The machines were in control. All was well.

Time passed.

Jack’s  ECG looked like it had been drawn by a dyslexic child (or a Doctor writing a prescription) .

Jack’s blood tested positive for troponin, confirming that he’d suffered an M.I., and given the degree of abnormality of the ECG, a pretty large one. Next the echo.
The ultrasound showed  the degree and position of the infarction: the amount of heart tissue (muscle) that had died. If luck is ever the right word in situations like this, Jack had been lucky: the blockage in the artery had occured half way up the heart, as opposed to at the top : about a third of his heart was dead.

Two week after being discharged from the hospital, Jack is back in it: Cardiac rehab. This consists of a relaxing chat with the cardiac nurse, a palatable chat with the cardiac dietician and some light excercise with a Welshman (no chatting). All the blood tests (prepared earlier) are encouraging: liver function is good, kidney function is excellent and there are no traces of the dreaded troponin. Weight is down (we’ll have to do something about that) and there are some side-effects from the medication (but that’s to be expected) … so all that’s left is a quick ECG and that’ll be that for another six weeks. The ECG: “All over the place” was the phrase used and hushed were the tones used to say it. Even compared with the (by no means usual) baseline from a fortnight before (a flit back to A&E following some “adjustment”), concerns were raised to the point that a further echo was deemed necessary. Right now. So, back across the lift well to the imaging cubby and a short wait for the senior Cardiologist (happily diverted from his meandering “rounds”).

“Turn the gain up.” “Take one there” “Don’t waste a shot” “Get round the side” “How does this compare …” “Well …” Jack’s heart had begun to heal: the infarction had started to reverse itself, which was impossible. As Sherlock Holmes was fond of saying: “When you have exhausted all other possibilities, whatever is left, however unlikely, must be …”. As dead tissue cannot regenerate itself, it must not have been dead – it must have just looked dead … it must have been “stunned”. Suffice to say, a significant amount of “infarcted tissue” was now un-dead, which is not to say it’s vampiric but rather alive, in the sense that it is now functioning as heart muscle tissue should (obviously a heart with “heart”): about ten percent of his heart remained dead. Decimated but not out. Jack was used to being decimated: definitely something he could live with.

“It’s just me, holding my hand on my heart.” Jack sung to himself as he wandered off …

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If you can’t eat it or hump it, just piss on it and walk away.

I’m sorry, but my karma just ran over your dogma.

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A Double Date with Death

As the needle went in, he felt a release. Although the effect of the drug wasn’t instantaneous, the bolt was now shot (so as to speak) and he could stop worrying about being interrupted. His wife had been as good as her word, and he felt her hand on his cheek. Although he could no longer see (he’d been blind for some time), he knew well enough what his wife looked like, felt like, smelt like. He waited for the onset of the drug. He had managed to transcend the pain and had finally managed to accept what was about to happen to him – that he would be no more. That had been the hardest thing to accept, dying being the most selfish, egocentric thing that’s likely to happen to anyone. He had managed to accept it with enough grace (he thought): he had resisted killing someone (a temptation he hadn’t anticipated) and was happy that he would end his life in a dignified fashion,  in a manner of his choosing. As recently as a few days ago he had been able to take solace in the fact that his books would survive him but now all he cared about was another tomorrow. As the drug cut in, he drifted off … off to a jungle full of screams, full of fire, full of death … a vision of a child running towards him, her back on fire … and then a shot – and more books, lots of books.

[Tim Shreeve]