The real reason why not.
by Anton Wills-Eve
Answer to word press prompt challenge, kick the bucket, set on December 14/2014.
“I loved pulling Freddie’s leg, he took things so seriously. Now today’s prompt gave me a lovely opportunity to really have fun with him. We were relaxing with a coffee after lunch when a propos of nothing in particular I asked him, “Of all the books you’ve heard of but not read which would you least like to read?”
“That’s a bit of a daft question, old boy. I mean if I hadn’t read a book how would I know if I wanted to? Okay, by repute I may assume I wouldn’t want to, but I couldn’t be certain. Where do you get these ideas? Probably a Barbara Cartland Romance. I hate that sort of book. But that’s only a suppose.”
Being a professor of logic at Harvard Freddie could never see further than his subject permitted. There was no scope for the unaccountable in his world so I realised I was going to enjoy myself. I next asked him “Alright I see your point, Freddie, but tell me, of all the places you’ve heard of but never visited which would you least like to go to?”
He smiled his most educated vacant smile and said,”Now that is more sensible. I Am sure I would never ever want to visit the south pole. I hate the cold and that is the coldest place I can think of that one can get to. Yes, the extreme cold would definitely stop me from going to the Antarctic.”
This was better I was now ready to ask him the one I was sure he could not answer at all. “Okay, third and final question for today, Freddie, of all the things you’ve never done which would you least like to do? Take your time.”
“Well die, kick the bucket, of course. No sane man wants to die.” I had him at last.
“But you don’t believe in any sort of life after death, so to you dying would be something which would be a non experience. Yes, you could cease your life on earth, but we all do that eventually. Why would it matter to you when you died if that was the end of everything and it was just something inevitable over which you had no control? It doesn’t make sense.”
“Oh yes it does. My atheism just makes me want to prolong my life as far into the future as I can.” This was too much as I pointed out to him. Surely he wouldn’t want to become a dribbling, doddering old vegetable of 150 unable to speak, hear, eat or do anything for himself. He agreed with me if taken to that extreme. So I asked him to put a time limit on his earthly life. Half an hour later, as he grew more and more irate, we finally settled on a mentally fit 96 year-old who died a sudden and painless death. I rose from my armchair and was about to say good bye to him when I added,
“Lord,Freddie! You’ve only got 37 years, 216 days, 10 hours, 14 minutes and 12 seconds left to finish your book on ancient Greek epistemology. But God’s given me eternity to never actually finish anything at all while thoroughly enjoying myself. All I have to do is be a good boy while I’m on earth.”
My all knowing friend laughed out loud at this. “When are you starting?” he asked. “Immediately, or tomorrow morning after your date with Priscilla tonight?”