Saturday, January 9, 2016

THE SMELL OF DEATH

by Mr. Mean-Spirited




A woman dying of cancer has a breath that smells like Satan’s nail polish remover.  

When an individual’s organs start to fail and the body slinks toward death, the flesh secretes a curious odor. Death has a particular scent. There is a smell to dying. 

You never forget the aroma of death. If you have ever been around a dying person, you will carry the smell of death around with you forever after – a stink of sauerkraut mixed with Jolly Rancher candy. The body emits a stench that contaminates the bystanders. You can smell it in your clothes no matter how many times you run the fabric through the washer; you can smell it in the folds of your skin no matter how many times you scrape at your flesh with a ragged bar of deodorant soap. That smell has now entered into you.

Anything you sniff will now carry that faint hint of rotting flesh. Even the whiff of a newly blossomed rose will now remind you of decaying tissue. Even the fragrance of warm devil's food cake will make you remember festering wounds.  

It may surprise you that an obnoxious misanthrope like me actually has family members, but I just watched my little sister take her last breath. The hospice nurse went home at the end of the evening shift, so I was given a morphine hypodermic and told to administer the syringe in her final hours; it is not her death rattle that I recall as much as the odor coming from her mouth. The vapors coming out of her were as thick as steam. The entire room took on the smell of someone’s innards. Sometimes it is better not to say "good-bye," just to push the plunger. In the end, her body was all curled and contorted like an old blanket in the dryer. No matter how much she squirmed in her hospital bed, she could not escape the fog of death – and neither can you, my dear reader. Fatality does not sneak up upon you – as much as you discover that it has been there with you all along.

But the next person to die is certain to be you, my online reader – you can smell your own death beginning to ooze out beneath your fingernails. There is nothing you can do. The stench of death is already upon you.


23 comments:

  1. Big brother didn't let his little sister down.

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  2. Death is not to be embraced. It is to be fought. It is a losing battle because death will eventually overtake us all. Fight it and fight bitterly so that one can live life to its fullest. I am sorry to hear of your sister's passing.

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    1. For every single human being, life is filled with anguish, but death is full of even more agony – and the afterlife will be the most agonizing of all.

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  3. Your afterlife comment is strange. Can you expand on that? I accept and even welcome death. No more suffering.

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    1. The two of us would probably agree that existence is crammed with misfortune, and that the misery only increases as we get older. An obvious, observable pattern.

      Where we might disagree is on the concept of an afterlife. I believe that this pattern continues after death, and that only constant torment awaits us in the realm beyond. Eternal anguish is what all humanity truly deserves.

      Consider it as theistic pessimism. Only a malevolent entity could devise something as horrific as life – and I think that there is a horrible surprise awaiting everyone after death. Surely this much agony cannot be the result of random chance.

      I am not convinced that death is the cessation of suffering – only its continuance. There is never any cessation of suffering – in this world or the next. No hope, no savior, no end to any of this.

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    2. Now that is some good pessimism.

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    3. Your depression is my pleasure, Sir.

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    4. Nice ! Tho I might wonder if a such a being could really be the source of love & beauty, exceedingly rare as they may be. But, as awful as being the play thing of an evil God sounds, there's a far more terrible thought, namely that we are that God. That humanity collectively structures the ontological conditions of existence by giving or withdrawing love, so that, not only is our torment entirely gratuitous, and we ourselves are responsible, but what's worse - this is how we like it, because it allows us to use others, the earth, and construct our own meaning, without the bother of God. This is what I actually believe. And my condolences in your loss.

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    5. Thanks for the comment. However, the proposition that the human collective might compose and comprise a supreme being violates simple logic. An all-powerful deity would, by necessity, have to be all-knowing – and if the individuals constituting God are not aware of what they truly are, then it would fail the obvious test for omniscience.

      But even if this idea were, somehow, logically possible – I would still be philosophically opposed to such a godhead. I do not want to be part and particle of anything. I stand alone.

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  4. Do you think we were suffering in the the eternity before our conception or birth? How would that work? Also, do brainless miscarried and aborted fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses get left "off the hook" by the evil God you posit?

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    1. Well, if there were some sort of pre-existence, then you can be damn certain it would have been pretty unpleasant indeed. Suffering before birth would surely explain how the human personality got to be so warped.

      For that matter, I doubt that any brainless fetus would escape this torture – but the creature is, perhaps, too stupid to experience the full extent of the torment. The more intelligence, the more injury you will feel.

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  5. Such awful, and beautiful writing. However, the idea of eternal suffering is a peaceful thought to someone whose greatest fear is change; it's a thought representing security, and it would end my suffering because it provides something solid to trust in in an unstable universe. Although I suppose if you can't even count on suffering to define your existence, that would create a painful identity crisis which is just another form of suffering too...

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    1. Fear of the unknown. Better to know you will suffer than be left in the dark. Warped we are indeed.

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    2. Not just that. When your identity is defined by suffering and that too is robbed from you or lessened in some major way, you suddenly are empty again in the most frightening way. It's a violent loss of self... so you cling desperately to what shards of suffering you can still find... The making of a masochist.

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  6. Off topic but I am pissed off to hear about the hude unfair bonuses being paid to bankers while every day workers earn fuck all. Fucking bullshit!!

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    1. Bankers are assholes – always have been assholes, always act like assholes, always will be assholes. But there is something far worse than an asshole – a worker who willingly humiliates himself in front of a boss for a job. Sure, we all need a paycheck to survive, but we don’t need to eagerly debase ourselves to subsist. An employee who does not fight back is a despicable creature indeed. For every executive that takes a bonus, there are a hundred wage-slaves who cheerfully allow him to get away with it.

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    2. My thought on that is that the only weapon a wage-slave has, is to stop reproducing.
      Let the successful, intelligent and good-looking people reproduce.

      The rest should just fade away silently without descendants, wouldn't that be wise ?

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    3. Or they could all get their pathetic asses organised and strike. I cannot fathom how much the wage slaves can endure and in so huge numbers. $7.25 an hour! I am one of those that would rather perish I think then work for that kind of money. Fade away into nothing you say? Not before the poor and pathetic revolt against the rich.

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  7. Señor Mean,
    I am sorry for your loss. Death will come to us. In October Mr.Death came and took my mother away. We are born to live and endless suffering.Take care. Raul

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  8. Mr Mean, if you don't mind me asking, how old are you? And how old were you when you realized how shitty life is? I wonder if I'll be at my younger sister's bedside when she meets death. I would hope to pull the plug and invite death rather than letting it slowly happen. But the circumstances are out of our control.

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    1. While I am admittedly an asshole – the fact that this blog a public forum means that I should not reveal any significant personal details (like when I was born) – making me seem even more of a jerk. My apologies for being involuntarily coy.

      Let’s just say that I am very old – when I was the age of some of my readers, there were still rotary phones and milkmen who left glass bottles on the doorstep. I’ve lived long enough to have seen almost all of my family members die (from natural causes, I better add). While other “antinatalists” talk about death theoretically, I have been there – right in the room. My father is dead; all my aunts and uncles are long gone; my only sister just died; I have no cousins; I have no wife; I have no children – I am literally the last of my line. I do not say this for some reader’s begrudging sympathy - that’s just the way life turns out.

      You ask when I first realized the dreadfulness of this world. That answer is easy – I recognized the horror of existence when I had to go to elementary school. Back in the first or second grade, I learned how my fellow students actually treat other human beings.

      As to the issue of euthanasia – all I can add is that what you might want for yourself is not necessarily what a dying patient might welcome. If I make an agreement to respect another’s wishes, I try to keep my word, no matter how difficult.

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    2. Thank you for the reply. I appreciate it.

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