The Reality Institute

A day in the death of dole

A day in the death of dole

Dole’s life was (to me) like an instruction manual on being happy. This is what I might say at his funeral. No, his funeral is not a morbid thought or at least no one would think so at this moment because that’s what you think of when your friend has died. I was crying just a few minutes ago, when I first started holding him, but I looked up at the sky and remembered something he said about stars.

“They blink off and on, Layden, in Morse Code. But, of course, the only Morse Code anyone knows these days is S.O.S., so that’s probably what they’re saying. The ancient philosophers said this,” he said confidently.

“The ancient philosophers knew Morse Code, huh?”

“Oh yeah, I believe it was Aristotle who first said… ‘Beep beeeeeeep beep’,” once again with confidence. So the stars blink off and on (and off again) to say “S.O.S” to each other all night. He proceeded with,

“Also, I heard they actually burned out a long time ago and their image is just reaching our planet ‘cause of something about space and the speed of light. So they’re dead but they’re still talking. I guess that’s why they call it the final frontier, eh?”

Our friend Marty said, “Whoever told you that was full of shit.”

So this was comforting to me (at least). About the stars and all because Dole probably would have said that it was just his image that was dying. He had probably burned out a long time ago. And it’s nice that he’s a star too because people tend to think that stars are the prettiest things out there.

Is it wrong to plan out someone’s eulogy five/ten minutes after they’ve died? Ok, well there are a couple things about that. First of all, he probably would have done the same thing to me. He also probably planned out his own eulogy all the time. And if Dole was going to leave me with the responsibility of finding his dead body and reporting it to the world and everything, I think I get to start planning the funeral arrangements whenever I want.

I held him there until his body got cold, then I was planning to go tell his other friends and the family that remained in contact with him and everything. But I guess I wasn’t as sad as I was at first. I mean, we all knew it was going to happen one day, dying that is. He might have argued that there are natural currents in this world that wipe across lives and people and plants and things, that move them into different directions. Therefore, his death was a natural thing; he just got caught up in the undertow.

I’m not sure if there are special funeral ceremonies in Hawaiian culture, but I imagine his brother and sister will figure all that out. They had names like Spam and Five-O. Dole’s parents were silly folks and named their children for political/symbolic reasons. I’d say that Dole was pretty lucky with his name. He could have been named after a cop show or a canned meat. I remembered their mother saying about the youngest, Spam, going to college in Washington D.C.,

“Well, now they have officially taken my children.”

She burned out a long time ago too, but her image faded lightly into the sweet summer a couple years ago. Her image lost itself due to natural causes, she gradually smoked one too many cigarettes until it was time for cancer to catch up with her. She was nice because she liked me and most of Dole’s friends.

If the funeral had an open casket, the mourners would remember that he wasn’t a strong guy (so he was weak), he wasn’t a tall guy (so he was short), and he didn’t fit most of the other definitions of masculine (so he was feminine). It was my job as eulogolor or eulogolist or whatever to make sure people overlooked this, I guess.

I was beginning to regret ever finding my friend’s dead body.

I don’t want to bore you with all these things about his death and the things he would have said if he was still alive or who his family was, but I can’t think of much else. You understand. A natural current happened to cast me out to a sea of dwelling and longing and emptiness. I predict that, though I will not forget him or his absence from life, my image will remain for a good period of time anyways. So this leaves me with more than enough occasions to say “S.O.S.” in various ways to other planets and stars.

Right now (to give you a bit of a clearer picture of what my image looks like at this particular moment) I am walking back from the beach to my car. This car (as generic as it is) can work like a phone booth or maybe a confessional because I’m not done crying. (for a clearer picture) I have hair like mountain slopes that curve and wisp up at the ends. You could ski (or snowboard, though I do neither) a route of your liking down over and behind my ears and you could make a nice jump down near my jaw or the back of my neck. My eyes are large and expressive. Dole might say they’re nice to look at too. He would also deny the fact that I have virtually no upper lip.

You know what?

That’s good enough. Make the rest up in your head.

I guess it’s hard to focus under the dampness of salty tears.

My life right now is a conglomeration of friends and family and all the things one expects to happen in life. Good times, bad times, and things of that nature. It’s mostly a process of figuring out how to burn out with a sense of accomplishment, so that my image projects itself as satisfactory.

Dole’s image might have projected at me, “Oh, cheer up, pup” as a means of cheering me up, not by telling me to cheer up, but as a way to say something someone would say in the Brady Bunch.

When I tell Dole’s father what happened, he’ll probably say, “What could have suicided a boy like that?” This is how his dad talked, like a French philosopher translated into English maybe. This was the same man who thought that nature had taken on a distorted form as of late. Things like trees planted in a strictly linear fashion, animals that lived in rows and columns behind rows of bars, and sex that was both strictly prohibited and strictly enforced.

This was not the natural current Dole would refer to, but it would certainly be a part of it. Hedge mazes were just flotsam that got brought in with the tide. And he spoke in metaphors like this sometimes. Although he hated cheesy things like calling people stars or life a body of water, he did it anyways.

“If I’m not gonna stop talking, Layden, I might as well say way too much. I don’t just wanna say S.O.S. anymore.”

He might have used all these words as a projectile, from his inner mental regions out into physical space as an attempt to affect the other stars. He might compare this endeavor to a wake boarder trying to change waves in the ocean. I might compare it to one of Newton’s laws. You know the one, for ever action there’s an equal and opposite reaction.

Cause and effect, I guess.

Though a car sometimes makes for a good decompression chamber, the awkward and uncomfortable chairs do not make for a good bed (and the sound of traffic does not make for good white noise). Despite all of this, the release of my tears released me finally into a peaceful sleep.

The dreams I had were fairly unremarkable (to me) because I had dreams like them all the time. But the sky was beautiful in all of them. There was a city in one of them, where I walked the streets with all the other burned out stars just like a regular day, but in this dream, none of us felt responsible for anything. Everyone talked like Dole and weights were lifted off our shoulders like a nice hair cut. Instead, the massive skyscrapers made all the decisions and we were pushed around in whichever direction they wanted. First, I was pushed into this high class woman in white and, even though I was dressed in rags, she didn’t even care. I said,

“Oh, I beg your pardon, miss.” And she said,

“Nothing to worry about, you can’t be blamed for the buildings.”

And throughout the dream I just kept getting pushed into these tight spots: into alleys, into crime sprees, into a homeless shelter, into a marriage, into an occupation, things of that nature. It was uncomfortable and it was awkward (like the seats of my generic car), but it wasn’t my fault anymore. It was the buildings hanging in the beautiful sky like ornaments. All we had to do was either ride the current or push against it like a wake boarder trying to change an ocean. And before I awoke, I heard a familiar voice say gently,

“Take the ornaments down, Layden. Christmas is over.”

Cause and effect, perhaps.

Newton’s first law also made a woman bearing a uniform marked with the L.A.P.D. logo and a book of rules knock on my window until I rolled it down.

“Excuse me, you can’t park here. You’re going to have to move your vehicle.”

I was angry for a moment saying,

“Oh c’mon. Just this once, please, officer.”

“I’m sorry; we’ll have to impound the vehicle if you are unable to move it at this time.” And then I was calm again, remembering the current,

“Nothing to worry about, you can’t be blamed for the buildings.”

To a star or Saturn or Halley’s Comet, our exchange looked more like Morse Code, one celestial body saying to the other “S.O.S.”. Although she wasn’t paying much attention, the officer nodded and I was on my way, my car pinballing out into the street.

So Dole’s life was like an instruction manual on how to be happy. His infomercials would have you committing to memory a sense of well being despite feeling well at all. His father, if we could find him, would say that when removed from the rows and columns of daily life, Dole’s mind would have been free to wander peacefully instead of free for someone else’s abuse. Dole reminded me a lot of his father.

While the sun was coming up, I pulled up to the house of Dole’s sister Five-O. I had to build in my mind a projectile of what I might say to her, which (through cause and effect) might keep her from feeling too overwhelmed or devastated. And after that, maybe I’d figure out a way to take down the Christmas decorations or change an ocean or say something more than just “S.O.S.”. Some other stars might hear my signal and we could take the decorations down together. This loose string of thought was interrupted by my own voice,

“I’m sorry, Five-O, he died late last night. He killed himself.”

“For god sakes, Layden. How could he have done this to himself?”

Although he hated cheesy metaphors, I thought I should say something he might have said at this time. Something that might have had some affect on a ship meeting a storm,

“Five-O, I’m sorry, but you can’t blame him for the buildings.”

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