Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Great Fiction

There are many kinds of lies. Lies we tell ourselves, lies we tell others. Some of them are blatant and hurtful, some are in the form of fiction, a way to tell deeper truths through storytelling. 

We here at the compound tell ourselves a very specific and important lie: that inside the walls of our home, we are safe from harm. No matter how many times we see the truth of that one, when the danger is over we gloss over and start telling it anew. 

Each of us looks over the walls at the hordes of zombies that mill about, and we see different things. Some of us look at them with pity, and those people tell themselves that for all the sadness the undead bring to their hearts, that they are too dangerous to let live. Some view them as hateful monsters, with the internal mantra that all humanity must be gone. It would have to be in order to cut them down so brutally. 

I've been thinking about this pretty hard for a few days now, and the greatest fiction that we tell ourselves ends up being the same one that people have been selling for as long as there have been stories. It's the idea that we will live forever. That we will not die. 

In the world that was, a place decidedly not populated by the walking dead, a place where most people never encountered mortal danger, this lie was easy to tell. We trundled along from day to day, absently repeating it in our heads as we happily went about our routines. True, we shook our heads and muttered vague words of condolence when death came to visit others, but it was never us. At least, it was never me. 

That great fiction has been outed for the lie it was. Every one of us has faced death not just a handful of times, or even many times, but routinely. Often. A fucking lot. 

Now the lies we tell ourselves are smaller, less obvious. I think we know for true that death is just one mistake, one bit of bad luck, away. The lies now just soften the edges, make the weight of death all around us seem less terrible. 

It sounds so dour and depressing, but for me that couldn't be farther from the truth. I find the visceral knowledge that I could die at any time strangely freeing. I don't fret about it or dwell on it. Instead I simply hope that if and when it happens, that I can make it a good death. I hope to accomplish something when I go, maybe save others or destroy an enemy. I'm not afraid to die. 

I just don't want to die in a stupid way. 

1 comment:

  1. Can we still have the Darwin awards in a post-zombie-apocalypse world?