Days stand still, the sun having stopped in the sky as it once did at Jericho for Joshua and the Israelites. We wait for a sign. The first death in two hundred and eighty-seven years. It’s an odd thing to write. How do we feel? If it’s shock, do we even remember what it feels like? How can we be shocked anymore? There is, there was, no death for us. No war. No famine. Were we even human? If being human means living and loving and dying then perhaps we still fit the definition on two counts: we live, and we love, but it’s not what love used to be. Or so we imagine. Call up a Twenty or Twenty-One (Century) flick — Tee Vee or Movee they called them — what sentiment is on display! A mere hundred years ago at the turn of the Twenty Three was it Randal Marques who said we’d all become French? Americanism died out quickly — that youthful starry-eyed three act story in which the Individual was the star? When Death came calling and we surprised it by donning its cloak and stealing its scythe, effectively becoming immortal, we never could have imagined the creature we were becoming. We were our very own Dr Frankenstein. Our very own monster.

I wonder if anyone else has as much pleasure talking about the end of the world? I suppose if I was out there in the tumult I would know the answer to that question, but ever since news broke of the first mortal in three hundred years I’ve decided to keep my ears and eyes shut for a while. I’m not sure what that says about me. Perhaps I am what all my friends and family have claimed over the years — a pessimist in a world in which such creatures became extinct many years ago. Centuries, in fact. But if I were to analyze my own misgivings and actions on the matter of “the great event,” then I would simply say that I have given in to instinct, succumbed to that old ticking time bomb Thanatos — still very much alive — is that the right word? — inside our engineered bodies.


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