'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
LIVING LAST DAY IS HARD WORK
There’s an old expression, “Live every day as if it were your last.” This is certainly a nice sentiment, intended to encourage people to make the most of each day and not waste time.
But did you ever think what would happen if you really lived each day as if it were your last? It might not be as sentimental as the author of that old expression expected.
The alarm clock buzzes at 5:30 a.m. I turn it off and lie back in bed. My wife nudges me and says, “C’mon, get up. You’ll be late for work.”
“Why bother?” I exclaim. “Pay day is not until next week, and I’ll be dead by then.”
“What are you talking about?” she asks.
“Today is the last day of my life! I’m certainly not going to waste it by going to work!” I then pull the covers over my head and start sobbing uncontrollably, not because I have less than 24 hours to live, but because it dawns on me that I will never see the Red Sox win the World Series—even once—during my lifetime.
My wife climbs out of bed shaking her head. “I’ll call your boss and tell him you’re sick,” she mutters, “and I won’t be lying.”
After a while, I decide I should go to the office. “There are a some things I’ve always wanted to say to certain people at that company,” I whisper to myself. “And since I’ll be dead tomorrow, it doesn’t matter if I get fired.”
I get up and drive off to work—without buckling my seatbelt. Even though I drive at twice the posted speed limit, it takes me longer than usual to get to the office for two reasons: (1) I stop to buy a pack of cigarettes, figuring if I start smoking at this point it won’t exactly matter, and (2) the state trooper takes forever to finish writing up my multiple-offense traffic citation.
It turns out that I don’t spend too much time at the office. Security officials escort me to the front door moments after I explain to my boss he looks just like a baboon—only not quite as smart. I’m not sure what annoys him more, the baboon remarks or jumping up onto his desk and doing a Tarzan yell.
I spend the rest of the day living as if it were my last: test-driving new cars like Steve McQueen in “Bullitt”; going to the mall to use my VISA card in every single store; and filling out an application for a million-dollar life insurance policy so my wife will be able to clean up the credit card bills and pay assorted damage claims—using my VISA card to pay the first premium, of course.
When I finally stagger into the house at a quarter to midnight, my wife exclaims, “Where have you been?!” Her anger turns to puzzlement when she looks out the picture window and says, “Where did that brand new Mercedes come from?”
“Don’t worry,” I say. “I’m sure the dealer will track it down and pick it up tomorrow.”
I walk into the kitchen and begin to eat ice cream right out of the carton. “You’re lactose intolerant,” my wife says. “You’ll get cramps.”
“Not if I only have minutes to live,” I reply. After wolfing down a few spoonfuls, my busy last day catches up with me and I drift off to sleep.
The next thing I know the alarm clock is buzzing. It’s 5:30 a.m. and my head is pounding and my stomach has cramps. I also crave a cigarette. My wife nudges me and says, “There are state troopers at the front door! They’re looking for you!”
“Aw, who cares?” I say. “Today’s the last day of my life.” I lay back in bed and groan, “Living each day as if it were my last is gonna kill me one of these years.”
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