Thursday, March 22, 2007

On Severance

I am just sitting here at Starbucks reading an excellent, wonderful book.
It’s called Anil’s Ghost and it’s by Michael Ondaatje.
I cannot believe I have not read this guy before. He is so amazingly good.
And so I set the book down for a bit, sipped my coffee, and thought of ways I would most NOT want to be killed. I’m talking about execution-style!
I have [quickly] concluded that there are really NO ways that I would like to be killed, sort of…. but the way that would most bug me would be flat-out decapitation.
I so would not go for that!

Anil’s Ghost takes place in the Sri Lanka of the mid-1980’s to early 1990’s, a period of serious political upheaval and violent uprisings. Please forgive my ignorance in not knowing exactly the situation there today, whether or not such violence as is discussed in this book is still taking place.
Suffice it to say, there are a lot of brutal killings talked about in the pages of Anil’s Ghost, and some of these victims end up with their heads on stakes, as a warning [I guess] to other people that still have their heads nicely attached to their bodies and whatnot.
Other people have been thrown from helicopters into the ocean, probably weighted down with stuff, or having their hands tied behind their back, and you’ve got to admit, there’s nothing good about that either.

But having your HEAD CUT OFF?

For one thing, I cannot think of something more horrible than knowing that sometime hence, soon even, you WILL have your head cut off.
It’s the knowing that would bother me, I think.
I think of people condemned to death during the French Revolution and stuff.
Wasn’t the whole decapitation thing really in vogue about then?
I simply cannot imagine that some people, thousands of them even, have had to sit in dungeons and cells and KNOW that soon they would be parting ways with their noggin!
Burning would be bad.
Getting shot? Not good at all.
Poisoned? Not my cup of tea!
Thrown from a helicopter? I’ll pass.

But, for the record, I am going to say here and now that I am going to be profoundly disappointed if one day something other than my neck separates my brain from the rest of me!
-- Cip


danielle said...

I sincerely hope that never happens to you! My personal fear--having someone tie my feet to a large brick and throwing me in the river. Hate movies where nasty people do these sorts of things. hate 'em! I loved The English Patient, and have always meant to read more Ondaatje, but have never gotten around to it.

Merisi's Vienna For Beginners said...

I love Ondaatje! I have read everything, including his poems, except "Anil's Ghost", which is still sitting on the shelf with the other read books because a young woman I knew well died in a plane crash in Yugoslavia during an international human rights fact-finding mission.
I cannot believe it that you as a Canadian haven't read Ondaatje earlier and now I almost envy you for the reading pleasures ahead of you.
(I removed the previous post to correct myself.)

Stefanie said...

I've not read Ondaatje. Must do that one of these days. I'm with Danielle, drowning would be the worst. At least with decapitation it's over quick.

Matt said...

You mean you never read The English Patient? :)

cipriano said...

Matt: Nope. Never read The English Patient.
I know!
How can I even CALL myself Canadian.
But get this!
[Constitutes blasphemy north of the 49th Parallel, I know! This confession, in itself, may be the cause of future beheadings in our country!....]

Stefanie: Yes, the actual decapitation part is quick, but it's the lead time they give you.... that's what bugs me.... it's the whole, "Umm Cipriano.... yeah, you. Wake up lad. Uhh, OK, it's been decided that because of your indifference toward Tim Horton's coffee, we are going to decapitate your head from your body like.... next Tuesday!"
That's the part I don't like. The "next Tuesday" part!
Oh hell, if you like accidentally fell headfirst into some sort of gigantic mozzarella slicer, yes, this would be a GREAT way to go!
But it's never like that!
It's NEVER the cheese-slicer deal!
It's always the advance-warning thing!

Merisi: The only other Ondaatje I have read is his collection of poems called "Handwriting" and wow.... I wrote a really quite horrid review of it for amazon.
Looking back now, I should be beheaded for the Tim Horton's thing AND for this review, really I should! In some countries I would at least have my Powerbook confiscated!

Danielle: Thank you for the good vibes.
Yes, I want to avoid beheadtion.
I really do.
The "getting thrown into the river with bricks tied on to you"?
Not good, either.

Merisi's Vienna For Beginners said...

You want a recommandation re Ondaatje? ;-)))))

piksea said...

All that talk reminds me of Dorothy Parker's 'Resume' where she outlines what's wrong with the many ways people can choose to kill themselves.