Sunday October 25th 2020

THE LAST LAUGH

We’re dying – all of us are, but some with a little more haste than others. We two who are writing this column have been given timelines which can be counted in months. Facing your own mortality raises several questions: how can I get one of those lovely Ghanaian coffin makers to fashion me one in the shape of a giant cock? What sort of contest can I organise for my friends to see who gets the playstation in my will? Does this mean I get a license to take medicinal marijuana? And – what will people remember us for? We hope that some of you, at least, will remember The Last Laugh.

“I would so love to look at your photos of the Lesser Spotted Warbler of South Borneo, but you see I only have 600 nights of my life left, and I have at LEAST 600 better things to do with them.”

So on the plus side, when you get to anticipate your death a little, you get a chance to think about how you want to say goodbye to the people you care about. You get to make sure you’ve told your friends that they’re rocking people, and that you’ve thanked that colleague who always went the extra mile. And even though there’s never a way to say goodbye to the people you love the most that doesn’t suck the fat one, you get to make sure that you do tell them every day how much you love them, and you’re never left with one of those “the last time I spoke to him I told him to go to hell because he forgot to buy milk” scenarios.

But the most fun part is telling all the bloody idiots in your life where to get off. There are various levels of this. The first level is: telling your friends what you really think of their loser boyfriends/spoiled brat children/astonishingly bad personal hygiene. To make sure you’re 100% safe in this, you preface it with some extraordinarily overdone appeal to their awkward social inability to deal with death, along the lines of “I know this is out of line, but I don’t have long left, and I really care about you, and I only want to help – I can’t face the thought of you suffering after I’m gone”. This puts everyone on the back foot, and they mumble “well, yes, of course, I, well….” You then hit them with the blatant truth. “Your husband is a complete loser who cares more about his Playstation 3 than he does about you. Lose him. You’d be better off with a vibrator.” “I have never in my life met children as unpleasant as yours. Possibly, if you revert to extreme spankings on a regular basis, you might be able to save them from juvenile detention and a life of crime.”And finally “Seriously.Breathmints.Just saying.”

Level two is telling people you just can’t be arsed wasting time on anymore to get lost. These are the lesser-spotted warbler types. The ones that only contact you when they want something. The people who haven’t actually properly seen you since High School but occasionally make inappropriate comments on your Facebook status when they see someone else they actually do like has commented. Yes, ladies and gents, its DEFRIENDING time! This flotsam and jetsam of your life, all the people where you feel you really ought to see, you really ought to spend time with, you really ought to get something for their son’s bar mitzvah for…anyone who inspires that sense of obligation coupled with a very slight throbbing at the temples and for some reason the faint smell of liquorice –KICK EM TO THE CURB.

And finally, the crème de la crème – those people who you really need to take the time and energy to tell exactly how crap they truly are. The people who deserve to squirm as you detail for them precisely why the human race would be better without them in it. You know those people who you work your ass off for and then they take all the glory and forget to thank you? You know that so-called friend who flirts outrageously with your girlfriend? You know that teacher who tells you repeatedly that you are worth nothing? Make a list, and then, just for one afternoon, THIS is what you say to them.

“Sometimes when I lie awake at 3am because breathing is so painful I can’t get any rest, there’s one small thing that gives me comfort. It’s that once I’m gone, I will never, ever have to see your face again. And I’ll be sure and tell whichever deity I meet when I get to the afterlife exactly what it is that you deserve.”

Then you wink, very slowly, and walk away. And never look back – after all you have people to love, parties to dance at, champagne to pop. As the Fight Club says “This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time”. Yours as well as ours. Stop wasting so much time being nice to people who don’t matter. For goodness’ sake, live a little!

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