Well Shit, I Guess That’s It:
The Eulogy of James R. Mitchener for Everyone but Him, by Him
If all has gone according to plan, which it clearly hasn’t seeing as someone is reading this to you and no one in my generation took the time to create an immortality serum, my last words should have been something memorable. I’m going to assume that, given the fact that it’s all over now and I probably went out the same way I came into the world, crying and alone, the words of my end weren’t as glorious as I would have liked. So, like many people before me, I have decided to take the burden of creating a eulogy discussing my successes and glory away from whichever unfortunate family member was bestowed with the task, and do it myself.
I am writing this Eulogy in 2012, on January 11. I am 24, and I think that given the fact that as I get older I’m realizing that life is a lot less fun than it was as a child, I should write this now while there is still that level of infantile curiosity in the pit of my stomach.
I have learned a lot of interesting things over the years. For many people less fortunate than myself, writing about their life at 24 in a way that shows reflection and meaning would be a foolish endeavour. Fortunately for me, I had seen more of the world before I was 18 than most people and their entire extended families would see in their collective lives. I have learned a lot, and forgotten even more. But that’s part of life. Sometimes we forget things that we wish we hadn’t, and sometimes we remember the things we wish we wouldn’t.
I like the idea that as I write this, I don’t know what my future holds for me. The worse case scenario is that this Eulogy is being presented not too long after it was written. The best case is that it is being presented long after I made all of your lives increasingly difficult by making you clean up after me because I was old and senile. If I’m really lucky, I even lost control of my bowels close to the end and some unfortunate one of you had to take care of that as I made crude remarks, or you paid someone else to do it. Regardless of which, know that even in my senility, I found it all endlessly amusing.
Of course, if it’s the former and you’re reading this early, that’s not so bad either. I consider my life so far to have been something of a wonder. I was lucky and happy for most of it, and the parts where I was inconsolably sad have made me understand what I consider to be the most valuable aspects of my life. Regardless of my mental state, of which there have been an endless number of fluctuations, know that I was glad to have lived the life that you all helped me build.
But that’s enough of that. As I have now left all of you for some time alone with scientists, meaning if my body hasn’t been donated to the medical industry someone needs get in trouble for severely fucking that one up, I would like to part a few pearls of life wisdom upon all of you. There are few things I have noticed along the way that I think would make everyone’s lives a little better, and seeing as I’m now dead, I can’t think of a better time to make you all sit still and listen.
First, use your indicator. For those American’s here, that would be what you call a blinker. It’s an absolutely crucial part of your driving schedule, and it makes the roads a safer place. Drivers everywhere thank you.
Second, don’t know the introvert. Some of you may know, many of you probably don’t. Introverts are the life force of our creative world. They are the minority of the population, only one in four of us being an introvert. They struggle to fit in, and they have a hard time balancing their lives because the things that energize extroverts are the things that drain introverts. Just cut them a break. Here are some pointers for dealing with introverts. They don’t like to be interrupted. They don’t like being put on the spot to answer a question, but they will answer your question with more detail and intelligence than any extrovert if you give them a few minutes to think about it. They don’t like making phone calls. Seriously. It’s the worst thing you can do to an introvert. Don’t make them use the phone. They read situations based on physical queues, and if you take that away, they can’t handle people. And finally, believe me. I am one of the biggest introverts this world has ever seen. I just learned to lie to all of you very convincingly.
Third. Lie. If there are kids in this room, listen carefully. Your parents are going to tell you not to lie or cheat. They are right because telling you this teaches you good morals. They are also lying when they tell you this because if they have any common sense, they know that lying and cheating are inevitable parts of life. When you pass through high school and university you’ll understand. University teaches you a lot of things, but none of them are more valuable than it’s true purpose: University exists to teach you how to lie and cheat and not get caught doing it. Once you’ve mastered that, you can do absolutely anything. And that, kids, is not a lie. But you are going to have to lie about what you’re capable of to get there.
Fourth, don’t make lists. Nobody wants to hear a list. It’s boring.
Fifth, don’t write like you’re a slightly retarded monkey that scribbles notes on the wall while taking breaks between fondling yourself and throwing faeces at zoo guests. The English language is dying because young people don’t bother learning how to do it. Texting lingo is not writing. It’s you being lazy, or sometimes just stupid. When you add letters to a word, you’re not making things simpler or cooler. You’re just being an ass.
Sixth, ignore every idiot that tells you that you need to be happy being alone before you can be happy with someone else. You spent the first 14 years of your life alone. If you haven’t figured out what being alone means by then, you have bigger problems than I can deal with in my final words. Go get help somewhere else. I recommend a paid professional or a homeless man. Homeless people always give amazing advice. So do drug addicts. I digress. Love someone like they are your other half. There are three things humans need to survive: sustenance, sleep, and human-interaction. We seek out a partner that will stay with us for the rest of our lives not because we are happy being alone and with ourselves, but because we want to find someone that makes us better than we currently are, and who we make better at the same time. That’s just part of who we are. And when you find it, hold onto it. Don’t marry the first idiot that tells you they love you. Chances are they don’t. Pick the right one. Don’t be another divorce statistic. If you need help figuring out how to be happy, ask a gay friend. They seem to have it figured out.
Seventh, share your favourite moments with the people you care about. For me, this involves talking about great books, laughing over tv shows and movies, making and discussing memories, and telling people when you’ve taken an unbelievable shit. I love taking a shit, and anyone out there that is close to me knows it too. You lucky few who have gotten to hear about it, I hope it sticks with you forever. Those were great times for me.
Eighth. Travel. Don’t ever be one of those people that’s happy with what’s around them. This world is so tiny that we can get around it in an inconsequential amount of time. Get off your ass and go see it. I can tell you this: with all the things I’ve seen, with all the places I’ve been, with everywhere I’ve lived in my life, my one regret is that I didn’t see more. Culture is the life-force of this world, and as a Third Culture Kid, I beg of you, go out there and experience as much of it as possible. And to my American friends: If you go to another country and eat in a McDonalds, I will come back and slap the shit out of you from beyond the grave.
Ninth. Figure it out for yourself. I can feed you a list of nonsense for an eternity, but the truth of the matter is, it’s your life and you’re the one that has to be happy with it in the end. So don’t listen to me, and stop wasting your time being sad or mourning over the shell of a man that once walked this Earth. Get up, get out, and go live every moment like you might never get another. Because frankly, no matter what comes after this life, you better be able to leave it saying you couldn’t be happier to have been here while you were.
And now for my final words: You’re going to need a bloody good editor to fix this ending!
Story by: James R. Mitchener