You go sit on a bench in the park. It’s a nice day, a bit cold, but sunny outside. You breathe in and feel your lungs expand as you take in the fresh, invigorating autumn air. Presently you sit back and start to think. You think about an ice age, a nuclear disaster, a meteor that crashes into the Earth, blowing it to smithereens. Mutant killer locusts, alien invaders from outer space, Justin Bieber getting ten consecutive number one singles. The cataclysmic event of your choice. You look around. That guy walking his dog? Kaboom. Dead. That cute couple sharing an ice cream cone? Vaporized. That man in his thirties reading the newspaper? Obliterated. Those two old men playing backgammon on the bench next to you? It’s like they never existed. Your hopes and dreams?
You know it. You think that you’re a living, breathing, loving, dog-walking, backgammon-playing, ice-cream sharing, newspaper-reading, intelligent entity, with your aspirations, your to-do list, your own personal deferred life plan and the genetic makeup that makes you more than the sum of your parts. But a moment’s loss of focus as you’re crossing the street and, as far as that incoming truck is concerned, you’re just a bag of meat ready to be spalttered across the asphalt. Slow down time by a factor of 500 and imagine a bullet heading straight for your head while you’re arguing with your friend over a football tackle. Was there a foul or not? See yourself from a little camera hidden in the tip of the bullet. See yourself being upset. See yourself trying to make a point, frustrated that they don’t get it. See yourself being concerned about what the future will bring. See yourself making plans. See yourself breaking promises and being regretful. See yourself buying new clothes and feeling better about yourself. See yourself getting praise and feeling better about yourself. See yourself getting criticized, getting humiliated and feeling small and hateful.
Now resume the regular flow of time and watch as, within a hundredth of a second, this bullet that we were hitching a ride on pierces your skull and penetrates your cerebrum, your thalamus, your corpus callosum. Boom. Minced meat. It’s game over. You, the person. You, the backgammon player, you, the newspaper reader, the dog walker, the ice-cream sharer, the lover, the son, the daughter, the flute player, the computer programmer, the best friend to your best friend, the future CEO of some big company, the sketch artist, the movie buff. The kid who used to get scared in the fifth grade when taking tests in math. How silly is that now? The kid who thought he was going to be a doctor, an astronaut or a rockstar. Never quite made it.
You like to think that you’re unique. You like to think that you’re going to be a bigshot. Everything that happens in your life happens for a reason, it has to be part of a bigger picture, it has to lead up to something. It’s all supposed to be building up to some fated future where you will presumably be rich, powerful and loved by all. Or change the world for the better if you don’t like money that much. Or maybe you’re a bit older, suppose yourself wiser and have given up this vision in favor of a more „realistic” future, where your current, shitty job is no longer as shitty and maybe you even have your own little house and rustbucket of a car. How’s that for a dream? Shoot for the Moon, they said. You didn’t listen.
Doesn’t matter now. You’re done. Finished. The curtain is rung down, your act is over. Now all it makes sense to wish for is that you’d have said good-bye. You look back on your life. You wonder, will they be making movies about me? Will they be writing books? Will anyone be spending two years of their life documenting my own? Will publishing companies frantically try to outbid each other for the manuscript? You try to care, but you can’t, cause your cerebrum is too busy decorating the wall.
You thought you were so smart and so important. You thought you had answers. You worried a lot. You worked hard and then you slacked off and then felt guilty about it. You felt guilty whenever you didn’t perform up to your own expectations of yourself. You cared too much and did too little about it. You should have kissed the checkout counter girl that one time when she smiled at you. Or at least asked for her number. You concerned yourself with the most trivial of things. You’re doing it now. Will I make it big? Will I be rich? Will I change the world? Will I find the love of my life? Will my childhood dreams come true? Will I find purpose? Will…