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Accepting That Death Is Inevitable

I was on an airplane and the flight attendant started going through the pre-flight spiel, instructing us on what to do "in case of a water landing."

I looked around. We were on a 747 jet. This plane isn't equipped with pontoons. A 747 doesn't "land" on the water. It explodes on impact into pieces the size of my toenail.

The proper way to prepare for an event like this is not to stick your head between your knees (as if there were room to do that anyway) but to scream until your throat bleeds and pray in six languages at once.

I arrived home (without experiencing a water landing, thankfully) and turned on the TV, and a commercial came on for life insurance. This guy walks onto the set all somber-looking and explains the benefits of their policy. Then he says I should sign up so my family will be taken care of "in case the unthinkable should happen." Of course, by "the unthinkable," he means "in case you die."

But the thing is, death isn't unthinkable; it's inevitable.

What kind of culture calls things that are inevitable unthinkable? What kind of world refuses to think about what is certain but instead spends its time worrying about things that aren't?

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