Sunday, February 06, 2005

Mort and Al will be the death of me someday

I just can't seem to shake these guys. Mort and Al, who seem perpetually joined at the hip, are for all practical purposes the same person, the same thing, the same sinister reminder. I think that they are separated, in my daily waking nightmare, only so I can get their morbid message in stereo, for greater dramatic effect.

I have explained to my son that hate is destructive and that, if you are going to hate at all, you should hate injustice, inequity, incompetence -- not the people who remind us that these things exist. It just ain't worth the bother to hate someone. Hating the thing makes you want to do something about it. Hating the person just chews away at you and ultimately reduces you to the same level as the object of your hate.

I try to practise what I preach. But I do hate Mort and Al. They just won't leave me alone. They follow me wherever I go. They shadow everything I do. They remind me daily that the only way I can get rid of them is to die. And that, dear friend, is what they want.

When I drive to and from work, a time when my mind would normally have roamed unfettered around the world and through the boundless realm of ideas, I might now instead hear Mort say: "Hey, Geezer, do you realize that you are already fifty-nine years old, and that time is running out for you?" And Al, at his appointed position beside my other ear, might intone: "And you still haven't become Prime Minister, dined at the Governor General's mansion, or bedded Britney Spears." I feel I must point out that Al, although he is Mort's twin, is the more demented of my tormentors. At no time have I ever wanted to become Prime Minister of Canada or to bed Britney Spears. To aspire to the former, I feel I would have to be brain-dead. To be appealing to me as a sexual object, the object of my attraction would need to have a brain.

But I digress. That is yet another sign of senility, or so Mort and Al tell me.

My buddy Bill Johnson lent me a DVD movie on Friday. He suggested it might be good family entertainment. What was it called? Eulogy. I think Mort and Al have gotten to Bill too. It must be a conspiracy.

We watched the movie Saturday night. My wife pointed out to my son that someday he might be expected to eulogize his parents. I suggested that his tribute to me should be something like this: "My father was one of a kind. He was larger than life. He cast a long shadow, and I will find it difficult to fill his shoes as I follow his footsteps through life."

Maybe he could say all that, but without the clich├ęs.

His response: "Larger than life, hmmmmm." I think that might have been a not-so-subtle reference to the fact I am presently several ounces over my ideal fighting weight. He could attempt to convince you that I am actually several hundred ounces overweight, but don't pay any attention to him. He is, after all, only a twelve-year-old kid. What does he know?

Whatever the reason, we all come to contemplate our eventual demise someday. Intellectually, I accept that I have to die. We are born, we live, we die. Or as someone cynical might say: "Life's a bitch and then you die." Or as someone both cynical and unhappy in love might say: "Life's a bitch, then you marry one, then you die."

I hasten to add that I have no personal experience with that last variant. Nor do I believe that life is, necessarily, a bitch. Life is what you make it. Yes, it can be tough, brutally so at times. But, it is what it is and because you are in it, you must live it. Because you must live it, doesn't mean that you can't try and improve on it. And that is what I try to do. I love life and I appreciate every single second and minute of every single day that I am alive.

I just wish Mort and Al would take a hike and go pester someone else. I've had it with them! And I have decided that when their cousin, the Grim Reaper, comes to get me, I just ain't gonna go. I'm having too much fun.

My brother and I wrote a script, many years ago, for a satiric western movie we shot over a three-day weekend at a farm we owned together at the time. We wanted to have a memorable company picnic that summer, so everyone who worked for us was cast as a character in our movie: The Day They Dunked Dirty Dingus McGee. I wrote the eulogy in the film that was delivered by the Reverend Zachariah Jones to the benefit of the deceased Dirty Dingus McGee. It read, in part:

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
May the nails in this coffin never rust.

Maybe that is really all we can ever expect anyone to say when we die. After all, we won't be around to complain, will we?

By the way: Writing this post has been strangely cathartic. Mort and Al appear to have left my side. I hope they're not heading your way.



  1. This was definitely one of your best postings of late.
    Catharsis was achieved for you and that's a good thing.

    Writing one's own eulogy at a point when life is full and vibrant is often an interesting exercise, perhaps cleansing as well. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on how we would like to be remembered and at the same time gives us some insight into where our next adventure should take us, and "what's next" on the list of dreams.

    I wrote and delivered a eulogy several years ago for my younger sister. It was an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone, yet somehow it was a tremendous honour.Thanks for reminding me to savour the moments. As for Mort and Al, they don't stand a chance.

  2. Thank you, anonymous. I really don't know what gets into me some days.

    I'm sure that your sister would have appreciated your eulogy and the sentiments you expressed. How we are remembered is really an extension of how we lived.

    I hope that by the time I die, my son will have developed into a spellbinding orator, with a gift for hyperbole and a selective memory. There would be no harm in his embellishing, at least a bit, his father's finer points -- and conveniently forgetting the rest.