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They’re switching him off today


S, a relative’s roommate whom I know socially, is scheduled to die today.

Actually, S died Saturday night, after we had dinner together. He went to a street fair in a nearby city and drank heavily. Then he got on his motorcycle to come home.

Someone found him on the highway, a mile from his home, dead. He had drifted into a left turn lane which ended at a median. He hit the curb and was thrown from his motorcycle.

The emergency crew wasn’t sure how long S had been lying there, but they shocked him back to life and then airlifted him to a nearby hospital. Sadly, tests yesterday revealed that his brain function was essentially zero. His injuries were severe – every rib was broken, for example. So perhaps it’s best that he not recover from this accident. Even if his brain was intact, his body is severely broken.

S’s family arrives today from another state. They will say goodbye, and then they will switch him off and harvest the organs that are salvageable.

It’s so sad, because I saw him only hours before he died. He was jovial and sweet, as he always was. A genuinely nice human, as humans go. And he was young. Luckily he had no wife or children, so his death only leaves his parents and his friends bereft.

This, as irritatingly stupid people on television sometimes say, is a “teachable moment.”

  • Motorcycles are dangerous. A moment’s inattention can kill you, because you have no protection. Worse, a moment’s inattention on the part of another driver can kill you, because you have no protection.
  • Alcohol is dangerous. Anything that alters your perception or reflexes is dangerous.
  • Mixing motorcycles and alcohol is dangerous and also stupid.
  • In my experience here, I’ve observed that good people seem to die young. Evil people seem to live a very long time. Two theories apply here:
    • Reincarnation literature indicates a general consensus among those who have had Near Death Experiences (or who can recall past lives) that when your tasks in this life are complete, you leave. Often your departure is abrupt. This event seems to fit.
    • If Heaven and Hell are merely different planes of existence, there are people who suggest that this plane is actually Hell. Evil people belong here; good people get to leave early.

Death doesn’t touch me often, but this is the closest it’s come in a long time. I hope that his death influences his friends to get rid of their motorcycles, but most of them think they’re invincible, or that injuries and deaths only happen to other people. They will likely continue with their suicidal behavior.

Goodbye, S. It was nice to know you. I hope your smile and happy attitude continue, wherever you go.

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