Originally posted September 28, 2010...
I took a life the other day. Picture this: it was Tuesday, 2 pm, and I was having a shower (are you picturing it, ladies?). And yes, I shower at 2 pm sometimes because I work evenings and like to spend a few hours a day sitting in my own filth. So I’m all lathered up and feeling good, when I look down and what do I see? A triple-bug! Like this huge, 12 legged furry long thing! Too big to be just one bug, it had to be several bugs fused together sadistically. Like a Human Centipede type of bug. Or, come to think of it, a centipede.
And I hate to be thought of as the stereotypical fairy who freaks out at the sight of a bug because generally I’m not (bedbugs excepted–for further reading see “Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Scariest Thing Ever Happen, Ever…” from Big City James). Spiders and I get along great. Spiders actually eat smaller bugs in their environments, so I treat them as I do maintenance staff or something (“Hey Manny, did you get that beetle I was telling you about? Aw, you’re aces! How’s your mother?). But this triple-bug was different. It was so large and looming and in proximity to my testes that I just couldn’t handle it. So first I splashed water on it, but that didn’t deter it in the least. So I turned off the shower head, got the bathtub tap going, and just drowned the sucker. And watched it happen. So I can’t claim this was accidental, this was calculated and pre-meditated and oddly satisfying. So there’s only one way to absolve myself.
Dream: Save a life.
Goal: Achievable. People die every day, perhaps some needlessly. And there’s like 4 million people on the Earth or something, so surely I can save one of them.
Plan: Several. The first and most obvious is to witness a potential death and stop it from happening. Ahead of the game, you guys! This already happened to me, but some loser ended up cockblocking my life-save. It went down thusly:
I was taking the escalator up the subway when I notice some punky longhair of about 12 years old just ahead of me with untied shoelaces. Immediately in these scenarios, I start envisioning the worst possible outcome. Like when you see an old lady on a hill and you picture her hilarious, rolling fall. So I eyeballed his shoelaces convinced they would get caught in the escalator. And they did! He didn’t even notice, but I saw them get sucked in just as he got to the top. Then I had some kind of trauma-induced tourette’s. It was weird, I couldn’t stop swearing at this tween. “Holy shit! Shit, take your shoe off! What the shit!” And he’s all, “What?” because he didn’t even notice, and then I get all dramatic actor on him and actually say, “Take your fucking shoe off!” Who am I, Affleck, all of a sudden? So then this stupid child stands atop the escalator and keeps lifting his foot gingerly, like he’s going to break the escalator or something. I said, “No, man!” (I can’t believe I called him “man”, I’m really taking this seriously), “No, man, take the shoe off! Shit!” But then some businessman coming up behind me says, “I’ll handle this!” (Who says that? If I’m Affleck, he’s at least Willis at this point). And he leans down and says to the kid, “If you just take the shoe off, you can get the laces out.” So the kid does and Willis is all smug and grinning at everyone. I did the same thing he did, just with more swears, and gets all the glory. I should have just let the kid die, or at least hurt his foot.
The second and more likely option is to help those who save lives themselves, thereby saving a life by proxy. The best way to do that, I figure, is to be charitable. Like worms, I usually think charity is for the birds. But if it doesn’t require much time or effort on my part, not being charitable is kind of a dick move. For instance, if I get chance back from a toonie, and there’s a jar for Sick Kid’s Hospital or Diabetes or Shampoo for Hipsters, I’ll plonk the change in there. It’s the least I can do. And I’d like to think most people have the same attitude, but not so. Both places I work (which I won’t name lest it come back to bite me in the ass) have charity drives where the contribution is a dollar. One dollar! That’s it, you’re good. And the amount of people who refuse to part with a dollar in the name of helping others is astonishing. They either decline and offer an excuse, or just outright refuse, both of which are charming. My favourite excuse when someone decides not to donate one fucking dollar is, “Oh, I actually donated last week.” To which I want to say, “Oh was that you? Thank goodness, because cancer and AIDS were both cured last week for one dollar, so that must have been you. Well done! Please, don’t trouble yourself to donate again, you’ve clearly done enough.” And then there are the refusers. Who say no so contemptuously, it’s like you’ve asked to please have sex with their dad on behalf of Breast Cancer Research. Years ago, when I worked in another retailer asking for dollar donations, a guy refused who was buying the following: Cheetos, condoms, gum, and two kinds of lubricant. TWO lubes! How greased up does this guy need to be? If part A isn’t going into part B, two lubes won’t make it so. And you can’t part with one dollar to help people who are, if you can believe it, sicker than you? You sir, are no gentleman.
So I guess being charitable is the answer. I may have taken a life unnecessarily, but maybe I can work out some good karma by spending at least a dollar next time I’m out for both Cheetos and lube. After all, the next time I try to kill a triple bug angling for a spot on my balls, I could trip, fall in the shower, crack my head open, and end up in the hospital. So it’s true what they say, the life I save could be my own.