I haunt Twitter in my spare time these days like the ghost of procrastinating writers, and something I’ve noticed that pops up every few days or so is a tweet about people on their deathbeds.
I bet deathbed research is skewed.
For one, who is affording death beds and living to be an old age in the United States? That’s right: complainers.
The other day I took down a piece of chicken a little too hard, and it was in my windpipe, and if you ran up to me in that moment and shouted, “What do you regret?” I would have said (had I not been choking), nothing! I don’t even regret not chewing this chicken properly! You know why? Because now I’m rapidly dying and I don’t have time to sit around and complain about crap. I back every decision I made!
Of course, had I really been about to die, I would have just died silently, so you couldn’t get all this good info down for the death bed research.
I always think (when I’m choking) about my grandfather, who died of choking. First I think: oh shit, this is genetic. After I don’t die of choking, I wonder: if he had a death bed, would he have expressed regrets about abandoning his family in the projects and moving overseas to eventually die of steak in Taiwan with a beautiful Russian woman and no contact with all his children? The nice thing about getting murdered by steak is that you don’t have all that thinking time at the end of your life. Which I believe is what leads to the regret. You don’t hear skydivers and base jumpers and mountain climbers expressing a lot of death bed regret, right?
That’s the other thing about the death bed research: these people are dying and yet people are still hanging around them even though they have the stench of death on them. Maybe there’s an ulterior motive: to write a book, e.g., a Tuesdays with Morrie situation, or some other parasitic reason: the will, maybe, or you want some time to shake them and shout tell me where the gold is buried, in case it’s a pirate.
I got this far in my thoughts about conducting surveys with dying people when I ran out of steam, so I decided to click on the tweeted link, and it was broken. So now I’ll never know what those dead people regretted. But I stand by everything I said about it even though now I’m not exactly sure what they said.
Anyway, I guess I’ll go work on my novels now. Good luck staying off your death beds.