My last column divulged the secret of my continuing health. No sooner had it appeared than I contracted a stomach bug so virulent that within two days I suspected I was on my way out.
The idea of dying usually upsets me, but in my condition, death was such a clear upgrade I wasn’t scared.
Certain types of thoughts arise when you feel your time may be up.
Regrets? I had a few, but I was already feeling bad enough, thank you. Overall, I decided I’d done pretty well. My achievements, which some might consider minor, are to me quite impressive.
There was a thing or two I still wanted to say before my voice was stilled forever. If I ever made it out of the bathroom, I wanted to remind Patti Jo that the day we met was the luckiest day of her life. Elemental truths can become obscured over the years. I also wanted to work out an epitaph. Epitaphs are obsolete, but I’ve always liked them, and although I may never be buried anywhere, I’d like a little plaque or stone somewhere with my name on it, saying something positive. “Good Writer.” “Good Father.” “Good with Dogs.” “Good Kisser.” Just ... you know. Whatever anyone feels is justified.
Most of life’s peeves and problems fall away when you’re dying — you stop worrying about late charges, for instance — but one still nagged at me. I was dehydrated and craved Popsicles, and I knew Katie was going to the store. But I also knew that in order to buy me four root beer Popsicles she would have to buy eight lime and banana Popsicles, because the Popsicle people box those three flavors together.
I don’t believe there’s a person in a thousand who likes all three. Banana’s fairly neutral, but lime and root beer are natural enemies. That means every time we buy a box, we’re buying at least four we don’t like. This is why Mr. Popsicle’s own epitaph will read “A Twisted, Spiteful Man.” You should, if you can, leave your loved ones with some useful last words, not with four unwanted green Popsicles.
As it happened, I finally made it down to the clinic and received a prescription for an antibiotic, or you’d be reading this on an Ouija board.
But I’m still operating with a kind of spiritual hangover. Mentally I’m still halfway out of here, with just a few fugitive thoughts still tying me to this world — one in particular:
A lime box, a banana box and a root beer box. How tough is that?
SHERWOOD KIRALY is a Laguna Beach resident. He has written four novels, three of which were critically acclaimed. His novel, “Diminished Capacity,” is now available in bookstores, and the film version is available on DVD.