all of the selves we Have ever been
The truth is out.
Upon hearing it, I nearly fell over right there on the spot.
The revelation came from a colleague of mine who owns a poultry farm. She and her family raise chickens for a giant national food corporation. Concerned about slow-downs
at meat processing plants earlier in the pandemic, my co-worker happened to mention that the birds would have to be killed if they could not get to the processing plant in timely fashion. Apparently, if the hens’ breasts grow too large the chickens topple over. They fall and they can’t get up. THE END.
It was an “aha” moment for me—a premonition. My life passed before me, and I realized--this is how I am going to die. Women of a certain age and build will know what I mean.
Now history makes sense. This is how women became doormats in the first place. I took a whiff of ammonia to keep from fainting and recognized the smell of a multi-generational conspiracy to keep women down. There are oceans of little blue pills for men who can’t get up, but nothing for this age-old problem affecting women. Is there no little pink pill for pectoral dysfunction?
While I can picture the final tipping point, what is harder to imagine is the coroner’s report. What exactly are the words used to describe the cause of death? Is it simply natural causes? Or is there something more medical, more official? Terminal sagacity?
And what does one write in the obituary? Perhaps it happens suddenly, but at a certain point, it can’t be unexpected. Surely, a woman sees it coming. Should tributes be described as a battle? A journey? Would it be too crass to say, “She could no longer stand up for herself?”
And what of the arrangements? Should it be open or closed coffin? After the cause of death is revealed, you know visitors won’t be able to manage their eyes. How awkward for the family. And what does one say in condolence? Something uplifting?
Now that I have had this glimpse of the future, I can spare you that uncomfortable expression of sympathy. When my time comes, just say: “She was larger than life."