[Toot!] Index: 5.2
Communism Bit: Off
Location: Job, of course
Every once in a while, I get something happening to my life to make me totally revise how I see other people. You know, like if you kill a man, every time you look at a pair of eyes as dark as yours, you wonder if this guy has also killed a man, if that is the mark of a killer.
The uniform effect of these things is that I start expressing myself differently. I grow up, so to speak. I get wiser. This is the point of living—getting wise enough when it no longer matters how wise you are. Like all those relatives of mine who, days before the Virus delivered the final, fatal coup, called for the little twin boys, and started mumbling about how I should, above all else, practice my self-restraint like a builder's biceps muscle, or else AIDS would cut me down. (I love long sentences that have commas slashing away at their long, snaky shapes, to watch them writhe and wriggle in pain in my archaic Vim text editor.) I always nodded at these dying, and then, much later, I learnt what made them so wise in their final breaths. Like the snake charmer who passes down a new rule for the tricky trade his children will inherit: `Never forget to check if the snake has fangs, even if you checked it yester ...' Before he goes stiff.
Without living unwisely, you can't be wise at death. Downside of that: you'll be the only one who lived smart and died a fool. Live untethered, and you will die wise. Behold, the things I want to do before I die. Some I've done, some not.
Watch a public execution. Stand against a wrong-but-popular idea. Kill a man. Save a baby or pregnant woman from a fire (or similar horror-death). Attend an exorcism. Speak a curse. Climb the Rwenzori. Convert a non-believer. Fuck a stranger. Deny a son. Say `Okay, he is my boy. That nose, it is mine.' Walk to the head of a stage that has live coverage. Scream `Yay!' at a crowd of fans. Fuck before a fire. Have my heart broken. Break a heart. Shut up and listen to a divorcée and let her cry into my chest. Read an Ernest Bazanye novel. Learn the language of the Ishmaelites, and then read the Qur'an straight. Command a battalion. Have sex atop a number of engaged pistols with live ammo in them; the thrill of mortal danger. Finish creating the digital version of the Uganda Sign Language manual. Rock an upset baby to sleep. Help with a birth from unexpected labour. Face my internal demons, fight them, subdue them, banish them. Steal myself from the arms of a sleeping lover, never to return. Fight a venereal disease. Fail to retell what the dead woman's last words were, because I don't speak that language. Crawl into a lover's bed and be surprised by a second body—her husband's. Sail to French Polynesia. Make friends with a dolphin. Save a nestling from an immediate death on the ground. Live in L'île Réunion. Ask for forgiveness, with earnest tears. Hand out pardon to one not deserving it. Live under oath. Fuck a religious celibate (like a nun). Perform Lover, You Should Have Come Over in a dimly-lit bar. Have sex in a public place (concealed, of course). Deliver bad news like `Your son was shot yesterday morning, in the line of gallant service to the Party'. Have sex with at least one of all the distinct peoples of the Earth, all of God's children. Confess to having love for someone, to that someone. Smoke the cigarette the girls gave me on Thursday. Scare a girl off with the sheer intensity of my emotion. Be scared off by the sheer intensity of one's emotion. Shout something brave at my executioner, like `Shoot, coward, you are only killing a man.' or `Long live the Liberal Party!' but not `Okay, forgi ...'
Then I'll tell the tale. I'll see it in your eyes, if you'd have trodden where I did tread. I'll be different, and I'll die wise. This is not all, of course. Space, friend. Space.