Idle Thoughts from Mt. Waas
Apr 12, 2006 | 986 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    You’ll understand where these idle thoughts are

coming from when I tell you that I was in a mega Wal-Mart in Show Low,

Arizona. It was on a Saturday, the first day of the month. I tried to

get out of going inside by saying that I couldn’t leave the new tire

unsecured in the back of the truck. It wasn’t a good enough excuse so I

locked the tire in the front seat and reluctantly went in.

    The place was packed back to belly with an

unpleasant welter of people and sound. Nearly everyone who gets paid

gets paid on the first of the month. They were all in Wal-Mart. The

thought occurred to me: “I wonder if this would be the worst place to

die.” Later, back at our kids’ place, I wondered about it to my

son-in-law, Sean. He said, "Not if you’re in the lingerie section.”

    By the time I was a teenager I had my death all

scripted. I would be 105 years old, hunting deer, see the biggest buck

of my life and die of a heart attack. At that young and irrepressible

age I could think of nothing more exciting than pursuing a big buck,

and no better way to die than while doing it. I still think that dying

out in the hills while doing something I love might be the best way to


    I’m not likely to die while hunting deer, though.

The last time I went hunting deer I saw some nice bucks across a

narrow, deep canyon. I was confident that I could have taken one of

them but I didn’t shoot. Having become an old guy, I knew that there

was no way I could hike across the canyon, butcher the animal, and

bring it back. Why, I might have had a heart attack.

    Some say that dying in a church or temple would be

the best way to meet your maker. It would give the appearance that you

were a fine, upstanding person. My uncle, George Elkins, died at age 89

while on a church assignment to do his home teaching. There is more

than mere appearance to that. Not many men are still faithfully home

teaching at that age.

    On the other hand, I’ve heard loud, locker-room

banter about hoping to live to the age of 90 and then being shot by a

jealous husband. It’s superficially funny, but having someone hate me

badly enough to shoot me would be awful. Besides, what if he shot me in

Wal-Mart and it wasn’t even the lingerie section?

    People think of drowning as a terrible way to die,

but I once had a profound dream of drowning in the Colorado river

upstream from Moab. It wasn’t that bad once I made the mental shift to

acceptance and even anticipation of death. Of course, nobody drowns in

a dream. I awoke gasping for air and was a bit gloomy for the next

three days. It was as if I had been promised something desirable and

then had it yanked away.

    I don’t want to die stupid. I mean, it would be bad

enough to die but it would be worse if people said, “Well, that was

stupid,” not that dead people care about what others think or say about

them. Dying stupid could result from boating without a life jacket,

bicycling without a helmet, driving without a seatbelt, mishandling a

firearm, or any of a long list of things.

    Come to think of it, males are more likely to die

stupid. Like many, I get a kick out of the funny videos submitted to

TV. I have noticed, though, that it is mostly males who do the stupid,

dangerous stunts. I guess it’s a testosterone thing. You seldom see

females trying to jump a bicycle off a garage or involved in other such


    There are many painful, lingering ways of dying. I

don’t even want to consider them. For my purposes, I’ll just say that

dying in a crowded Wal-Mart would be the worst. Most people wouldn’t

care. They would only be irritated because my cadaver was blocking the

aisle. I can hear it on the store speakers now: “Clean-up in the

lingerie section, please.”

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