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Friday, June 26, 2009

Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)

Here's a joke I made up.

A man in his 40s isn't feeling great. He goes to the doctor for a general checkup.

After a thorough examination, the doctor tells the man, "I have good news and bad news."

"OK," says the guy, "What's the bad news?"

The doctor looks him in the eye and says, "You're going to die."

"AW, JEEZ, DOC!" the guy yells. "Just like that? No segue? Just 'You're going to die'?"

The doctor apologizes a little, then asks, "Don't you want to hear the good news?"

"Well, yeah," the guy says. "But what could possibly be 'good' after that?"

"Alright," the doctor tells him, "barring a terrible accident or the onset of a fatal disease, you've got at least another 30 or 40 years."

The moral: We're all going to die. But not yet.

If you've ever seen a painting where the main figure contemplates a skull, you've seen memento mori (meaning "remember, you shall die"). This is an artistic convention that's meant to remind us of our mortality.

Like anyone would forget.

But we do, and then the memory seizes us, and we freak out.

Just remember: yes, you're going to die. But meanwhile, you're going to live. (Some people consider that to be bad news!)

So die when you must, but live while you can. Carpe diem! Seize the day!

You'll be happier.

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