After 7 months of light use and proper care, my Logitech UE 700 noise isolating headphones decided to stop working properly. Being well within the warranty period, I contacted Logitech to see about a replacement or repair. What followed was (and continues to be) some serious bullshit.
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Most of the deaths I’ve witnessed first hand have happened on concrete and I witnessed them from a few feet away; My brother in the driveway of my childhood home, a guy with a frozen trachea in a parking lot in Wisconsin, an older gentleman on the path behind home plate at Turner Field in Atlanta. I saw another one this afternoon and it made me happy.
I stepped out the exit of the Music venue i work in to grab a burrito before the start of the show. When I got to the crosswalk, I saw two men kneeling next to an overweight and motionless man on the sidewalk. They looked distraught, the man looked grey and lifeless. As I approached they were starting CPR, I made a radio call to the security guys on duty at work asking the ones that had EMT training to come and help out. A girl stepped out of the store in front of which it was all happening, she was speaking with a 911 operator. The security guys arrived and took over the CPR, they kept it up until the paramedics and firemen got to the scene. I stayed close, no more than 10 feet away just in case the paramedics needed help or answers or something. I admired the calm urgency with which the paramedics worked. there were five of them. Each knew his role and undertook it with zero pretense. After a few minutes the two guys that had originally been helping had disappeared. There was no crowd gathering, just a few folks lingering a hundred or so feet away.
I’d never seen a real defibrillator in action before. I’d only ever seen dramatic recreations in films and TV shows. In those instances it’s always an actor doing his or her best to act like they’re being shocked back to life. Seeing it happen a couple of times from a few feet away was something entirely different; flailing of limbs and twitching flesh, moving in directions your muscles typically never intend to move. A brutal reminder that we are all meat, and nothing more than meat, our bodies weak and fragile.
Over the course of the next 20 minutes I watched the paramedics run through hundreds of chest compressions, attempts to get him going with the defibrillator, rescue breathing, intubation, some injections of some sort. As time passed the paramedics were looking less and less hopeful. They eventually piled the man onto a stretcher and took him away in an ambulance. They left with the lights and sirens on but they weren’t in a hurry. They knew he was dead. I gave my card to the paramedic wrapping up the scene. After a minute the guy that had originally been giving him CPR showed back up and started talking to me. He apologized for having taken off. He told me he was high on hash and whiskey, he was on his way to the show at my venue, and couldn’t handle the situation so he ran away from it as soon as he could. He felt terrible. I told him it was OK and he just needed to go enjoy the show. i tried to put him at peace and let him know he did a great job. He calmed down a bit and I sent him on his way.
After the last paramedic left, I got that burrito I had originally stepped out for. I went back to work and got my head together while i was eating. After a while I was in a great mood. Not because I enjoyed a single bit of the process, not because I want people to die, and not because I found any of the preceding events to be less than horrifying and terrible. I felt great because the whole situation put a lot of things into perspective. I’d been having a shitty day; I was really stuck on some petty bummer bullshit (my ex-girlfriend was kind of hanging me out after I had done her a favor, and I couldn’t stop meditating on my own trivial problems). After watching a helpless and anonymous man die on the sidewalk I was reminded that all life is impermanent and all of our pointless machinations are nothing more than an effort to deny our own mortality. I realized I was wasting my time being in a shitty mood over things that were ultimately unimportant. I felt happy to be in love with a wonderful woman, I felt honored to have such fantastic friends, and I knew there was nothing more important than the pure and simple joy of sharing happiness with the people you love. As soon as those truths availed themselves I started having a really good time with some of my friends at work. I laughed so hard my stomach still hurts hours later. I hugged my sleeping girlfriend as soon as I got home. I took my time making a really nice cup of tea.
Those things are important. An afternoon spent sharing snacks and working a crossword puzzle with a beautiful girl is more important than a day spent at work. A single afternoon making music with my dumbass friends is more important than my shitty career. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Savor the flavor, you might never be here again. I’m lucky to have so many good people in my life. I’m happy that I get opportunities to make their lives better. I’m honored by their willingness to tolerate my stupid bullshit. i don’t deserve all these beautiful, hilarious, and wonderful motherfuckers around me every day. I’m lucky to have them and they make my life great. So fuck my ex’s bullshit, fuck my own petty bullshit, fuck my money problems, and fuck wasting time with dumb shit. It’s all beneath us.
It could all end at any time, right here on the sidewalk, so do it well and do it soon.
This is for those who sleep with copies of “The Fountainhead” & The Bible on their nightstands
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