Originally published December 12, 2013
This month’s theme is “Secret Worlds” and “Better You’s.”
I decided to write about death and combine both themes because death is good at combining all manner of things. I haven’t written about death since I stopped wearing gobs of eyeliner and drawing “</3″s on my Algebra notebooks, which, blessedly, was a long, long time ago. Death is pretty big secret world. What goes on in there? For some reason, when I think about me being dead, I don’t picture a ghoul or an angel; just someone with different problems.
Where the Teeth Go
People have often told me that at the end of the world, we will all get our bodies back, and I believed them. But for some reason, I had always imagined it was our job to go find them.
So if you died millions of years before the end, you’d have to search through deserts of dust to find the particles that once were yours. You’d have dig up old buildings to find your fingernails and scavenge through old sewers to get back your hair and fecal matter.
My own situation in this scenario would be less die, I imagined, because I had planned on being alive during the apocalypse or shortly before. It would be a simple matter of retracing my steps. Most of me would be in the three bathrooms I’ve inhabited over the years. I’d go through my old showers until I had a full set of hair and the toilets until my stomach was full. I’d go through my work and car to find the lopped-off fingernails and glue them back on. Bits of old skin from calluses and my lip would be lying around my apartment waiting to be reattached with grout .
For this reason primarily, I am uncomfortable with the idea of being an organ donor. Awkward conversations would ensue, and I would definitely lack the documentation to prove rightful ownership.
Except, I do lack my wisdom teeth due to my parents’ advice and will die that way. I have no idea where they are kept now. At odd moments, I find myself hoping to god they’re not ground into powder or abandoned in some dumpster like broken chairs.
I’d have to track down my oral surgeon, and storm his office. I’d dig through his storage, and maybe there’d be an open safe where they’re all kept, dusted and pristine. (Mine would be clearly labeled.) Then, I’d reach into my jaws and pop them back into place. But before I went up, maybe the surgeon would be there too except for a few of his ribs. Take back, he’d say, standing in front of his magnificent safe, Take back all that you once knew…