When ns died, there to be no one about to see it. I passed away all alone. It’s fine. Some world think the a an excellent tragedy to dice all alone, with no one approximately to watch it. My high-school boyfriend want to marry me, since he assumed the most essential thing to have in life was a witness. Come marry your high-school girlfriend, and also have her with you all v life—that is a the majority of witnessing. Everything necessary would be experienced by one woman. I didn’t favor his idea of what a mam was for—someone to just hang around and also watch her life unfold. Yet I recognize him much better now. It is no small thing to have someone who loves you check out your life, and also discuss it with you every night.

You are watching: My life is a fucking joke


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Illustration by note Smith
Instead of marrying him, i married no one. We broke up. I live alone. I had actually no children. Ns was the just witness to my life, while he found a woman to marry, then had a son using fertility. Her family of beginning is large and lives close to them—same with his family of origin. I checked out them one time, and also at his birthday dinner there to be thirty relatives and close friends, consisting of their just child. We were in ~ the house of his wife’s parents, in the small coastal town wherein they were building their lives. That got exactly what the wanted. He has actually thirty dependable witnesses. Also if half of them die or relocate away or involved hate him, that still has actually fifteen. As soon as he dies, he will be surrounded by a love family, that will remember when he still had hair. Who will mental every night the he came residence stinking drunk and yelling. Who will remember his every failure, and love him in spite of it all. When all his witnesses die, his life will certainly be over. Once his son is dead, and his son’s mam is dead, and the kids of his boy are likewise dead, the life that my first boyfriend will certainly be through.

When I drew my last breath, no one saw me. The car that hit me drove easily away, and also a driver quit to carry me the end of the facility of the road. Ns was already dead as soon as he brought me, so I have the right to say I died alone.

Now, you have the right to probably tell that I’m lying. If i really am O.K. Through the fact that no one i loved witnessed my death, why did i come every the means back here from the dead? Why walk I placed on the meat of my body, and the clothes I wore my critical day on earth? Why did i resume the voice i spoke with when I to be living, and also return come the weight i was at the time of mine death? I also washed the dirt the end of mine eyes and also my hair, resolved my this in the locations in mine mouth where they were before they got knocked out. Why did I bother doing that? It to be a lot of work. I might have remained in the ground because that eternity. I can have stayed there, disintegrating, if ns felt the my life was resolved. If there had actually not to be a twinge of tension in me the something still necessary to it is in said, I would certainly still it is in in the ground.

Here is the thing: ns was a joke, and also my life to be a joke. The last man I loved—not my high-school boyfriend—told me this throughout our final fight. I was thirty-four at the time. During the fight, as I was trying to explain my variation of things, the shouted, “You space a joke, and also your life is a joke!”

The night before, us loved each other still. We checked out bed in ~ the very same time, and, together he check out a famous crime novel top top his phone, I dropped asleep on my pillow, gently touching his arm. A couple of days later, i died. It has taken me because that time—four years—to recognize the full significance the what the said: that ns was a joke and also my life was a joke. At the minute he stated it, ns didn’t know exactly how to reply. I was therefore hurt, ns just began bawling. This only proved to him that he to be correct. I stared in ~ him through an open up mouth. The course, i was supplied to his cruelties through then, however still it hurt.

When I got your invitation to come speak below tonight—Didn’t you know I had actually died? friend did not—when I obtained your invitation, at first I thought, No, i cannot come. The truth is I had no factor to. However then a few months later on I wrote you a note: ok come if you will do it pay to dig me up. If you’ll pay to fly my corpse across North America, from where I am buried, and wheel me to the mike stand, climate yes, ok come. As I flew, I functioned so tough to save in my dead brain what I wanted to say—it to be the whole reason I’d stated yes. I had something crucial to declare. What was it? have I said it already? think slip native a dead brain so quickly. Ns can’t psychic if I claimed it.


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“Ooh, space those Reese’s Pieces?”
Lying over there under the ground, salt and also soil and also sweat and also worms and seedlings and saplings and the skeletal of dried birds collecting in mine mouth, and also my blood caked dry, and also my toes curled up, and also my mind filled v hair and also the feather of birds, and the tiny white balls of whatever it is that periodically specks the soil—those small Styrofoam balls—and the shit of dogs, and also the piss the skunks, and also the seedlings and also the saplings and the acorns and also the raisins; that is so exceptional I might think under there, in that total, wet darkness. You never ever know, lie in the ground, what her niggling believed will be. You have the right to take just one believed with you come the grave, and invariably it is a assumed that bugs you, miscellaneous that must be assumed all the means through to the end prior to you uncover your peace. The thought I took to be of a male I loved saying, “You room a joke, and also your life is a joke.” that cleaved to my head and my muscles and my bones, till I was nothing yet those words. Once my life fell down inward—which is what fatality is, life collapsing deep right into itself—that expression remained external the collapsing; it came to be a thing separate from me. And, because it was different from me, I might take it v me—it to be the just thing i had.


The male who said I to be a joke and my life was a joke—he might not have actually been there in my last moments, evil my final breath, but what i realized was: the foretold mine death. He can only have actually foretold that by see me to my core—by having been my soul’s witness. As soon as he said those horrible words, he witnessed me into the future, a future that knew I would certainly meet. During our fight, ns tried to convince him that he to be wrong. “I’m not a joke!” i cried. “You’re the joke! you the joke!”

When a human slips on a banana peel and also dies, then her life is a joke. Slipping on a banana peel is not exactly how I died. Once a human being walks into a bar v a rabbi, a priest, and a nun, and also that is just how she dies, then she life is a joke. That is not how I died. As soon as a human is a chicken who crosses the road to obtain to the other side, and that is just how she dies, then her life is a joke. Well, the is exactly how I died—as a chicken cross the road to get to the various other side.

When ns crossed the road that day, it to be to the other side i was heading—that was just how much despair ns felt, our fight tho in my mind. Why go the chicken cross the road? To get to the various other side. A suicide. The other side is death. Everyone knows that, right?


I scurried out in front of that rusty old car, and smashed myself right into the metal, my this pushed ago into my throat by the fender, my chest fully run over.

I didn’t come below to boring you. I came right here to tell friend a joke. Or, rather, to show you a joke. Me! and also to brag that i was witnessed. That first boyfriend that mine—he no live far from here. Probably he is in the audience, listening? having a beer? ns hope he is here! my life and also death to be witnessed, i tell you! Witnessed and also foretold! girlfriend did not fare any far better than me. It appears both of us won, in the end.

What a chicken ns was. I couldn’t bear any aspect of living. Especially that old custom: the you need to live a much better life 보다 everyone else.

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What is the other side like, you may be wondering. Because I’m here, i might also tell you: it’s a ridiculous ar where anyone is always laughing. It’s like something I skilled once, ~ above a transcontinental flight. This woman beside me laughed at every dumb hoax in whatever show she was watching, accurate every hoax the display made. Climate she watched one more show, then an additional one. She laughter to fill our heat of seats. She didn’t avoid laughing from takeoff come landing. How a person’s laughter can make you hate her! don’t the laughers the the world know this? do they think it makes them lovable? that likes come hear who laughing to herself, headphones on, if staring in ~ a screen? more than likely the same civilization who choose to listen to strangers crap behind a hotel wall.

Over over there on the other side, it’s favor that all the time—the dog laugh, the tree laugh, everyone laughs—whether yes anything funny or not. I exercised this decided on the various other side, before an audience of 16 people, and it took 4 hours, from beginning to end, as I waited after ~ saying each sentence for the laughter to subside. Here on earth it is different, of course. The quiet the the living is just one of the great reliefs. Is death the very same for everyone, or is this laughing world a death made just for me? How deserve to I recognize for sure?