Friday, August 05, 2005

Death... No. Life...

My mate Lavi wrote about an accident he witnessed last week on his blog. On the way to work, he saw the naked mangled body of a suicide jumper on the streets in Honolulu. The experience has somewhat left an impression on him.

Growing up and working in Ghana I did see some pretty brutal scenes. In the market I would witness brawls every other day and every once I a while they would also catch a thief. This was like a free for all slug fest. When they catch a thief, everyone has to participate no matter what they are on the way to be doing. Sometimes my shop boy would come back late from an errand and I would ask, “Andrew, what the fuck took so long?” And he would say, “Chale Avi, they cot a teef and we were shwipping him”. Like it’s a valid reason to be late!!

The first thing the mob would do is strip the thief down. They literally tear the clothes off the perpetrator while slapping punching and kicking them. It is a sickening sight but shit like this hardens you. I have seen men, women, and even children handled like this. Half the bastards that are administering the beating are thieves as well but it doesn’t matter. The poor son of a bitch on the receiving end was dumb enough to get caught.

I recall 2 years ago being at the gym and waiting to use the treadmill. This Chinese guy was using it at the time. He must have been in his mid to late 30’s. He was quite fit as he was in the gym every evening as well and he had really good stamina. He could run for half an hour straight. As he got off the tread mill I stepped on and started my work out. I was watching him walk across the room, away from me and towards the weights area when stopped and sat down. Within a minute he was lying back on the carpet and he had white foam coming out of his mouth.

It was relatively early in the day, about 4 pm only so we were the only 2 guys there and the rest of the patrons were older ladies. I remember running over to him and trying to get him to relax because his body was having spasms. The 2 guys who worked in the gym found their way to the scene soon enough and called for an ambulance. Neither of the 2 idiots knew anything about CPR. I had learned CPR way back in my early teens so I cleared his airway and started to do what I could. It took a while for the ambulance to get there. By the time the doctor came in with his nurse my whole upper body was in pain from pumping his chest. But the doctor had me continue giving CPR while he did what he did. We went on like this for about an hour till the poor mans face was blue.

Somewhere during the fiasco the victim’s phone rang and one of the ladies answered it. It was the man’s wife so they asked her to come down. She had been there crying while we were trying to resuscitate him. When the doctor gave up I remember hearing the lady scream. It was almost 7pm now. I really thought we were going to save this guy. I don’t even know what I was thinking the whole time I was bent over him but I do not remember ever giving up. It was horrible. She kept calling to Jesus for help as she shook her husband and rammed her head against his chest. I sat back against the wall, sweating, panting, and in complete disbelief. The young lady screamed, she cried, and she begged for help. That was the most painful thing to watch.

I got in my car and drove home. I did not feel shaken but I was in deep thought. When I got to my house and sat on the couch. My family immediately asked me what was wrong. Although I did not realize it, they could obviously sense that something was askew. I opened my mouth to tell them what had happened but before I could get the words out, I started to cry. This reaction was totally out of my control. It was like my body was having a reaction of its own while my mind was thinking straight. I was not sad for the man who died, but more for the people he left behind.

Well I have never been a person to let occurrences like this control my emotional state of mind. I like to bite my lip and move on. I think about the incident every now and then realize how fortunate I am. I like to think the lady found strength as well and his kids are okay too. I never really went back to that gym. It was not a conscious move but that’s just the way it unfolded.

Moral of the story, life is too fucking short. I don’t wanna die with a perfect body and clean bill of health. I might as well go out with all guns blazing!!

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"” - Anonymous


surri said...

great post man...couldnt agree with u more....

ival said...

You're right Avi. I think its most important to move on. I was really shaken on that morning cos of what I saw and what I was thinking. My mind kept thinking why, why...theres no reason to do this! But I dont know what the person went through...I can say Yes I will never do that. But him and I do not have the same thinking...he may not have the same support I have or the same experiences in life to deal with hard shit you know...He did what he did becos he felt it was the only way out he knew.

Now, I am just aiming to use it as another experience that will benefit me in my life. Its a part of me now. Move on and do what comes and dont regret!

Today is Friday, so cheers to you mate!

mogs said...

That's a pretty heavy story man. I remember in Accra when you were telling it to my dad and me.

I for one don't know what I would have done in such a situation.

Life throws us a curve ball every now and then.

Shan said...

I think this is my favourite post.

Avi said...

Shan, you picturing yourself skidding across the finish line in a black convertible all Thelma and Louise style?

Thanks. Means alot commin from ya ;-)