The Lives of Patriarchs and Cats
In the children’s message, the pastor, referencing the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs of the faith, said that they died more often then than we do now.
I wondered how often they died back then.
I think he meant that, in spite of the stories to the contrary, they died, Methuselah not withstanding, at a younger age on average than people do now.
However, I got to thinking about that. Did they have the nine lives of a cat?
How many lives do we have today?
How many times have I died in the last sixty-six years and risen again?
— Death #1: When I was really young, like six, a cousin’s mother died and I was so nervous when I saw him I said, “Your mother is alive; no, your mother is dead; no your mother is alive; no your mother is dead.” I just knew that was wrong and if I hadn’t died on the spot, my father would have killed me.
— Death #2: In the park when I was eight, Johnny and I kissed Kathy. The vote went to Johnny. Kathy said Johnny’s kiss was smooth and nice. Mine was dry and rough.
— Death #3: In fifth grade, I sat, so lonely in a new school, sneezed and blew a fart in front of all the students I hardly knew. They laughed; I died. The teacher added to the humiliation by trying to come to my rescue, “Students, it could happen to anyone.” Right.
— Death #4: In sixth grade, Karen said I stuck my hand up her blouse to get a feel. She was developed beyond her age but what? How could I, even if I had wanted. I sat behind Karen. Are you kidding? The only breast I knew for sure was my mother’s and that had been a long time ago.
— Death #5: The principal hung me up on a clothes hook in his office for the alleged crime of sticking my hand up Karen’s blouse to feel, let’s get serious about this, her titties. Finally, Karen said she made up the whole story. Thanks, Karen.
— Death #6: In seventh grade, I laughed really hard and Joanne said my breath smelled like fish.
— Death #7: Skipping high school for there are far, far too, too many deaths to count during that four year span of time, in the darkness of the theatre, as I leaned over my date to say something to my fraternity brother, my breath mint fell from my mouth. I had hoped it had dropped into the netherworld. Moments later, the person with whom I was on a first and what would be the last date, asked, “Is this yours?” And handed me the mint that fell directly into her palm.
— Death #8: Then there was the time I was standing too close to a support post while smoking my pipe at a college dance. Someone said hi and I turned, knocking my pipe into the post and out of my mouth. Ashes flew all over my date’s dress. BMOC and Joe Cool, not.
— Death #9: Getting to the important stuff and therefore skipping decades, I arrive at the really, real death of my wife. I really, really, seriously contemplated real death, too. But while I died metaphorically, I thank God I didn’t die for real as in suicide.
— Life #1: I survived and I have a beautiful, wonderful wife who survived, too, and children and grandchildren, and friends and a whole lot for which to live.
And so, I have concluded, we have many more lives than the nine lives of the cat and, apparently, at least as many as the Patriarchs and Matriarchs and all the deaths they died and survived over their acts and those of all those rebellious covenant children.
And life and death go on.