March 16, 2000
Whoís afraid of the big 1-8? - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
VANCOUVER -- My colleague Babak Khorram did a week ago and Maneesh Puri, (the self-anointed star of Tupperís team coverage at the NDP Convention,) will do it a day before me. Some of you, readers, have and some of you will. That is turn 18.
18 seems to be a milestone. I guess we all think we can do stuff we could never do before. I checked it out recently: I canít buy booze, lottery tickets or a gun, yet.
The biggest thing about turning 18, for me and everyone else is that weíll graduate from high school, in and around this birthday year. 12 years of school is over and onwards to something bigger. Personally, I donít know what that is yet. I seem to be hesitant.
I never like looking back. Iím a little tired of looking back, because we seem to do that consciously or unconsciously all the time. Whether youíre sitting on the sofa or in a life-threatening situation, your life (or parts of it) flashes in front of your eyes. I guess, the older you get you become more and more aware of your mortality.
Sure, it may sound macabre or silly, but thatís the truth. The day youíre born, and everyday thereafter is one less until the end. Whatís the end? Well, if youíre Catholic like me, heaven, only if youíre good though. I may be Catholic, but I donít really believe that. I donít know if there is life after this life, but itís always something to wonder about. (I guess Iím gunning for proof, damn me.)
Death and dying has always puzzled me. Some people refuse to talk about it and refuse to recognise its existence. I guess in my reckless way, whenever I feel tension, I donít hide from it, I just shatter the damned thing. Death and dying shouldnít be snuffed off, it should be discussed openly. (Hell, weíre doing that with less important issues, why not the most natural of them all?) If my Catholic upbringing is a smidget true, then death should be the best thing to happen. I mean, wonít you land in heaven for all of eternity? I guess what weíre afraid of is pain. Painful death is what I fear, I mean Iíd like to slip away sleeping, not having my toes ripped off by something from the movie Jurassic Park.
Some will have read the preceding saying I shouldnít be concerned with such issues. Maybe I shouldnít, but finding out youíre a year older, you tend to think about stuff like that. I have great hope for myself and for society in general. I know that I canít predict whatíll happen to me or those around me, all we can do is hope. Some have dubbed me a cynic or an edgy person, so that preceding line or two is rather surprising. Life gets better Iím sure and my life so far hasnít been too bad. Iíve had ups and downs, laughter and tears, like most Iím sure.
Iíve been very anxious of turning 18, donít ask me why. But, I think itíll be just another day. A credit to my calmness, Iíll have a pleasant day and move on.
As my curmudgeon, Peter Warren would say, ďGet on with it.Ē
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