Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Mum, I can tell you when you will die!"

"Mum, I can tell you when you will die!"

This was the ecstatic comment coming from my almost 16 year old son's smiling face! I had always thought of him as loving, caring, affectionate, kind hearted...I could go on and on. But I WON'T! My son came into the kitchen last night, whilst I was preparing his school lunch no less, to tell me that he had downloaded a software program that can predict the age of death after the date of birth is inserted.

Now, my logical, scientifically trained mind (ahem, she says superficially examining her chipped fingernails!) wanted to shoo him away and tell him that what the programmers have probaby done was put together some equation, blah, blah, blah and that all in all, it is just a load of male cow manure (you get the drift)!

BUT, the rest of me was intrigued. Maybe the death age that it spits out will indicate that I have six weeks to go and my husband and children will pity me and be really, really nice in that time, and I'll get to go to France as a farewell gift. Or, I may have another 50 years left and I had better be really, really nice to them (especially the kids, you know, thoughts about nursing homes and the like)...especially funny (and of course confirming my logical, scientifically trained mind!) would be if it told us that I would die at the age of 28 (yes, suffice to say I am past that number!).

So after a little deliberation and a quiet moment (very unusual in our household!) I had a death age. Seventy-seven. Seventy-seven. I had exactly 39 years to go. Whilst quietly contemplating who it was I knew that was that age, I suddenly hear a loud guffaw emanate from my beautiful, loving son's mouth, informing me that, in addition to the death age, a countdown clock was displayed on the screen which he could email to me to set as my screen-saver on my laptop (this is where my chest cavity felt like it was imploding!)! And then, just as I am trying to work out what my favourite songs are (to be played at my memorial service), darling Hubby gets in on the act to see if he could better my death age! I didn't know whether to indulge him or to ridicule the program and him, for showing any interest in this silly but destructive software!

Highly amused, (myself bemused!) my quick-fingered son entered his Dad's birthdate and after a second of seriousness on his face, he let out a (concerning on my behalf!) laugh! "Guess what?" he tells his Dad, "You and Mum will both die at the age of 77!". Then, darling Hubby contemplates the maths and realises that, according to this software, he is to go before me..."Stupid program!" he lets out!

I really don't know how to end this post except to say that it has really led me to think about how long I may have to go (I really hadn't given it much thought before now). And, whoever wrote that "stupid program" has a lot to answer for...I forgot about packing the rest of my childrens' lunches, didn't give myself the do-it-yourself yoghurt and cucumber facial I had planned either!. And, I did not get a word of my novel written. I am now considering an autobiography. Thank you son.

I am also left with the questions: Is my beautiful, loving son behaving like any typical teenager with a new gadget, OR, (and this is closer to my heart!) should I disinherit him now?!


Jane said...

I think he is saying it in the safe knowledge that whatever will happen is a million years away in the life of a teenager.

Mervat said...

Jane: I think you are absolutely right. Although this post was tongue-in-cheek, the experience of being given some arbitrary death date made my mortality seem so real.

La Belette Rouge said...

I think it makes life more valuable to know we won't be here forever. When I did the math on how long I likely have left it certainly makes me think about how I am spending my life.

p.s. as to your question my answer is the former and not the later.;-)

see you there! said...

EEP! At my age you don't even want to contemplate these things. Of course, as you say, it could still be days or years.

Teens do have a different outlook on things like mortality don't they?


2L3Bs World said...

thanks for sharing this. i however is having a mix feeling about it, knowing when you will die from the mouth of your child is kind of morbid. Maybe this is just a joke 'coz i believed only God knows when you have to go.

Mervat said...

La Belette: It is actually quite sobering to think about how much we all have left. But, taking it one day at a time and doing the things we really want to do ie go to Paris or write a novel (hint, hint) are exactly what we should do!

Darla: Teens certainly do have a different outlook. In their mind, they will be young forever and they want to be older! I remember clearly, after bieng told at the age of 14 that I would have arthritis by the age of 30 how far away it seemed. I could've been told I'd be 80 and it wouldn't have made any difference at the time. And how quickly 30 came round (and went!).

2L3B's world: My son, being a teenager, was most likely more interested in a new mathematical gadget than anything else. I believe we are here for a certain time and to make the most of that time with those we are with and in these modern times, our friends we share the blogosphere with.

Thank you to you all,

lunarossa said...

I think I'd be terrified if someone would do that equation for me!! I might not believe it immediately, but a part of me would start thinking about it and again and again... As you well said, kids do not see mortality as we do and for them it's only a game. All the best. Ciao. Antonella

Mervat said...

Thank you so much for commenting Antonella. When my son suggested this program, I was taken completely aback initially before I realised that it was silly. Afterwards it was all I thought about for a while. It was alot more powerful than I initially gave it credit for.


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