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I am not sure how to say this without appearing extraordinarily morose, but this afternoon I actually thought to myself, "today is a good day to die." Allow me to remove my black nail polish and eyeliner, and then I will offer a perfectly sane explanation from a well-adjusted, unmedicated man.

Expiring today would not be a desperate solution; just a practical one. I am neither terribly unhappy nor perfectly self-actualized. I have had some really lucky breaks. I've gotten to do certain things that have made me extremely happy, even if I haven't done all of them. I've fallen in love more than once. I've had my heart squished more than once. I've had sex, seen mountains, deserts, lakes and oceans. I've eaten cactus. I've tasted snow and washed my face in a natural, fresh water pool more than two miles above sea level. I've been drunk, high, stupid, depressed, giddy, shocked, inspired, defeated, applauded. And I've touched an okapi. I've been to the prom, I've stolen a car, went to college, never looked back. I've seen art, made it, laughed at it. Saw nature bring half a forest down, and listened to the creak of maples splitting in two from the icy lip of one of Letchworth Park's scenic views. I've made amends with my family. All in all, I've had a good run.

And, better still, are plenty of things I haven't done, or left incomplete. Death takes the pressure off, doesn't it? Some of my personal projects are half-finished. Others are only half-realized. Work is neither totally enriching nor unsatisfying. I'm not in love now. I don't own anything significant or legally burdensome, like a home or even a car. I have cats, but many people love cats. Today, the loose ends are not a source of anxiety for me. They are a tiny legacy, and perhaps a bit of a mystery of potential energy. Langston Hughes wrote about the sad physical states of a dream deferred, but what about a dream denied? People forget, while some of them remember a little longer. Today, if I died, they'd sort it all out.

So, between this life and the one ahead of me - the one that still confounds me - maybe today would be a good day to die. I don't wish it upon myself at all. I'm no longer the dramatic sort. I certainly would not lean into a deadly situation for a kiss. I wouldn't die angry either. I wouldn't miss the things I haven't done, or the things I've done poorly. I wouldn't even miss the things I've done well.

But I have family and friends with an astounding capacity for faith, and I would miss them. And I'm still very curious. So, maybe tomorrow would be more convenient.

WE FIRST MET ON 04.08.2003

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