A page a day, day fifty-two: Fantasy Funeral

So I was surfing through the news this morning and came across a report about how the hate filled and ignorance encrusted Westboro Baptist Church had planned to picket the funeral of the man killed by the Boston Marathon bombing, but how hundreds of teamsters organized a counter protest to block them… and the WBC just didn’t show up.

I’m kind of hoping the WBC is running out of funding. I mean there isn’t generally very many of them and it’s not like they actually produce anything gainful, so they’re entirely dependent on the donations of others of like mind, and I suspect that group is slowly diminishing.

However…

It got me to daydreaming, like I do, and also reminded me of a great post I saw on either facebook or pinterest ages ago. It simply said “Life you life in a way that will make the WBC picket your funeral.” At the time I thought it was a great new way to spin the old cliches of “live your life to the fullest” and “seize the day”. Now the inner cynic in me is thinking all you need to do to live your life that way is to die in some nationally covered disaster and they’ll simply show up to blame your death on The Gay.

But I still like the attitude of that post, and if I were reasonably certain that the Westboro Baptist church was going to picket my funeral, I’d leave some very specific instructions on how I want my funeral to be organized. This idea isn’t necessarily original as it also ties in with some wonderful photos I’ve seen on the internet of gay and lesbian couples making out in front of Anti-Gay protesters.

First, IF my funeral were going to be so grand as to elicit media attention, and if that media attention were to inspire the WBC or some other hate group to protest at it, I would send out explicit invitations for every GLBT group to attend my funeral in counter protest. I would do my best to make it absolutely clear that they would all be welcome.

Then, as part of the instructions for my funeral and wake, I would arrange for a DJ, or multiple DJs, and however many dance instructors I could find. I would have my friends and family set up lots of open space for people to dance in, and I would have them encourage all attendees to dance.

I’m not talking about night club dancing, but old fashioned ballroom dancing, full of poise and grace. I would want men waltzing with men, women waltzing with women, just couples of any and all gender specifications. I would love to think of them gracefully dancing by all the evil and bile spilling WBC protesters to show them an explicit example of peace and love, the very opposite of how they’ve chosen to live their lives.

It would be expressed to the crowd that my wishes would be for everyone to dance, and for no-one to be excluded. I think it would be a fantastic opportunity for some WBC member to suddenly realize they’re on the wrong side of the abyss on this idea and for someone from the LGBT crowd to ask them to dance.

I would also want my friends to express to the crowd that I want my ideals celebrated with openly demonstrated affection. I would want everyone and anyone to participate in whatever Public Displays of Affection they felt comfortable doing, to within the limits of the law. I don’t want people arrested, I want people’s perceptions of love to be challenged. While the WBC holds up their signs of hate and death I want people to stand in huge groups before them actively demonstrating love and life.

My only regret would be being unavailable to participate.

A page a day, day fort-six: A dream that helps me sleep

The story of the Ship came about from a common daydream I’ve had for the past couple of years. A daydream I often use to calm my mind and help me get to sleep. If I don’t have a daydream I won’t get to have night dreams. My mind is far too occupied with the daily stress to let me sleep unless I throw it something shiny and smooth to play with.

The daydream is pure escapism in both the literal and cliche sense. I lie in bed, under my covers, sprawled across my pillows as comfortably as I’m able, and imagine that I’m the Ship. My brain is no longer housed in the failing cairn of flesh but rather safely installed in a massive metal box that will last for centuries.

The box replaces all of my standard senses with new, exciting ones. No longer bothered with a sense of smell or touch or taste I instead have dozens and dozens of eyes, each designed to pick out and analyze a particular spectrum of energy. I suppose at times I could trick the sensory input to come across as smell or taste, but that just links back to the flesh I’d long since discarded and it’s much more pure to see it all.

My legs become massive cannons of energy that propel me at insane speeds. My arms become servos and mechanisms that spend most of their time arranging and repairing things. And my brain becomes the central nervous system and pilot.

The real beauty of the fantasy is just imagining my mind pointing at a distant star and launching straight for it. Driving through the depths of space to find new worlds, but more importantly leaving this one safely behind. I would have a very simple and direct mandate: explore and report. I wouldn’t be responsible for finding life or locating newly habitable worlds. I wouldn’t have to make any major decisions at all. I’d just open the senses, record what I see, and beam it back over my shoulder without even looking.

I wouldn’t have to worry about provisions or shelter, it would all be self contained. The energy of the stars around me and some fairly complex internal power source would keep me sustained for hundreds and hundreds of years. Direct control over my processing speed would let the years pass like seconds, if I want them to, or let seconds pass like days if I really want to inspect something.

Actually, I never much daydreamed past the point of leaving the solar system. Achieving the hard shell of self sustaining safety and leaving at near the speed of light were the main goals, everything else was just gold farming and bonus points.

I understand the draw of religion. It’s a nice ideal to have, the belief that all this suffering and agony is ultimately going to result in some form of reward, that there is a greater being up above who has a Good Plan that provides for us and our best interests. It would be very reassuring, and I’m sure it helps people sleep at night.

In the morning I always remember that the ship is just a dream and that I still have to go to work to buy food, shelter, and clothing. I am very harshly reminded that I am not in a self sustaining pod and that I still have to haul this aging flesh around, to feed and bathe it, clothe it in something that fits and doesn’t hurt other people’s eyes while at the same time keeping me warm and comfortable. I’m constantly reminded that I have to try and eat the “right” food to keep this rapidly declining textbook example of entropy called a “body” from decaying too fast, but that nothing will ever actually stop the process. I’m painfully aware that I have a million and one worries to face and not one of them can be pawned of on some automated subsystem. I have to handle them myself, directly and personally, every fucking day.

But at night, in my imagination, I leave it all behind for a few precious minutes and fly away in a hard, clean ship that will never come back.

And that helps me sleep.

Quite often, it’s the only thing that does.

In Washington state religious parents are getting away with murder. Literally.

As I read in a post by Claudia here a faith healing couple allowed their son to die of appendicitis and, so far, they’re not going to jail for it. Why? Because Washington state law, which Claudia linked to here, expressly states that Christian Scientist parents who take their children to a Christian Scientist faith based practitioner are exempt from a law that, for anyone else, would have them serving jail time for just standing by and watching their son die.

I’m going to keep this article around as a specific example of how religious people are, quite literally, allowed to get away with murder, even in North America.