The book of questions, Volume 126

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Friday is The Book of Questions Day around these parts. Today’s query comes from the aptly-titled tome “The Book of Questions” by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

And here it is, Question 80.

Would you rather die peacefully among friends at age 50, or painfully and alone at age 80? Assume that most of the last 30 years would be good ones.

Once again, I want to fill in the details.

What, exactly, does peacefully among friends mean? Am I relaxing on the couch, nodding off to sleep while watching “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” with a few of my close friends?

I could do that.

Now onto painfully and alone. Am I snacking on crunch Cheetos at home when the chandelier with the sharp ornamental spike in the middle falls, impaling me to the ground. Do I have to lay there for ten hours as I slowly bleed out just waiting for sweet death to overcome me? Will it take three weeks for someone to find my body and will my cat be drinking out of the toilet and dining on my fingers and eyeballs just to stay alive?

That’s a big no thank you.

Is anyone really going to choose to die painfully and alone? I don’t care how awesome the last 30 years are, I’m not going to spend my time playing stupid bingo games — even if I did win the coverall every time I played — just to die a painful death alone.

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27 VIPs have spoken

  • Han says:

    I’d need a fill in on the details too. “painfully and alone” – are we talking physical or emotional pain? Am I going to have horrific hallucinations or am I actually going to get eaten by a pink elephant with teeth like a tiger? (I was trying to think of something random lol)

    Then again “alone” are we talking that I have no other family to be there with me or are they just away somewhere else not where I am dying?

    CJ keeps complaining that because of what I eat and stuff like that I’m at higher risk of dying first. I already know this. High blood pressure, arthiritis and stroke all run in my family – if that doesn’t get me then it could be dementia if it’s hereditary – my Gt-G-ma had it, her daughter (my grandma) now has memory issues caused by a stroke – so I might get it I might not lol. So okay I’d have to deal with the pain of losing him first but I kinda want to outlive CJ just to be able to tell him off that actually my diet etc kept me going lol. (Yeah I know I’m weird)

  • Elle says:

    Okayyyy hold on there. I AM fifty. And I am totally NOT ready to die peacefully or otherwise. So I take the latter, and tough it out, if this is my only Plan B.

  • Solomon says:

    I think I’d take the extra 30 years. That’s surely got to be enough payment for a bit of pain and loneliness.

    • cardiogirl says:

      Wow, I’m impressed Solomon. You’re quite young yet, aren’t you? You’re around 25, right? Even if you’re 30 I’m still impressed that you’ll add another 50+ to the docket.

  • Junebug says:

    I have to take the extra 30 years. Mostly because I have started doing everything so late that by the time I have kids they won’t yet be in middle school when I’m fifty so I’m going to need the extra time. Totally worth the loneliness. Besides I still have tons of payback to deal out before I go.

    • cardiogirl says:

      I have seven years left til 50 and I’ve often calculated my kids’ ages just because 50 sounds old to me. Mine will be 18, 15 and 13. I guess I can’t leave teenagers behind, dammit.

      I guess I’m gonna be 80, alone and painfully dying.

  • Elizabeth A. says:

    Oh, hellz to the no.

    That’s 24 years left for me. 50 will be just fine.

    Do you know the chances of dying peacefully? Low. Really low.

    • cardiogirl says:

      What actually constitutes peacefully? In your sleep?

      • Elizabeth A. says:

        Yeah, like I just die. I’m reading a book and get sleepy and never wake up vs. just about every other way you can die which is incredibly painful and drawn out.

        Do you know how long it takes to die most of the time? Weeks. Of miserable, smelly, painful, demeaning, depressing weeks. I’ve seen it. It sucks donkey balls. And I don’t want any part of it.

  • I’ll take the quantity of years over the dying with friends. I kinda like it here on Earth and would like to spend as much time here as I can.

  • sanjay mehra says:

    I am going to be 49 this year and definitely have no intention of passing on just yet. I will take a few minutes of pain and loneliness at the last minute and have 30 good years.

  • madge says:

    By the time I’m 80 I will probably have run everyone off with my snarky crotchetiness, I can forsee only having people around that I pay. Especially if I’m anything like my mom. 50 is too young to die, even if you’re surrounded by people you love, that also means that they have to suffer dealing with your passing, at 80 most of your friends and family will already be dead. I pick 80.

  • Erin says:

    I want to know under what circumstances a 50-year-old is dying peacefully. Seems to me the only ones who go peacefully are the old ones whose bodies just give out. If you’re 50, you’re probably only dying if you get hit by a bus or have a terminal illness, both of which are probably pretty painful.

    But — if that chandelier will do me in within 10 minutes instead of 10 hours, that’s not TOO bad, I guess. For 30 good years. I assume if I’ve had 30 good years then by “alone” the question means “no one else in the house”, not “you’ve alienated everyone you love”. Because if I’ve had 30 good years I can’t have alienated them all, right?

    So I am willing to be impaled by a chandelier for 10 minutes to be found by someone later, if it means I get 30 good years. If I’m going to drown, though, I’ll take the early death. Drowning scares the shit out of me.

    • cardiogirl says:

      Nope, girlie. If you go for 80 you go for the 10 hours. That’s the deal.

      I’m going to say alone not because you’ve alienated them but because you’ve outlived them. You still want 80 with no drowning?

  • Heidi Klum says:

    Frankly, 50 and 80 feel like they’re about the same distance away…forever! I guess 80, you can’t really replace a bit of loneliness/pain for three decades of a good time. Plus after looking through mortality records for my thesis, I have a good idea of what ‘lonely painful death’ looks like, and to me it’s going with ‘anal cancer’ (shiver).

  • Thomas C says:

    Can I choose from these two options for someone else? Because I’ve got a list of people I’d like to see gone at 50, and a completely different list of people who I’d like to see go in the most painful and lonely way possible.

  • LJ says:

    I’m a year away from 50 and no way near ready to say Good-bye. So …. I’ll take peacefully at 80. I know that wasn’t a choice, but that’s my gig and I’m sticking to it.

  • absepa says:

    I’m going to say 80, just because I’m 40 now and 50 seems really close. I am going to insist that the “lonely and painful” portion doesn’t start until about a month before I die. Until then, I am going to be one of those fabulous old ladies like Ms. Grace from my church. She’s 85, looks 70, dresses impeccably, and makes the most of every minute she has.

  • Oh shoot, Girl, I’m just not going to die at all, painfully or otherwise.

  • Katie says:

    Assuming the extra 30 years are mostly good…I want them. I want to see my grand kids (if I have any). I want to live to retirement. I want to travel the world. I want to be an old lady on a park bench holding my hubby’s hand feeding the pigeons.

    Painfully and alone would be hard, but I’m going to assume my husband dies just before and my kids are still alive but not physically with me. The truth is we always die alone anyway and the body has its own mechanisms for dealing with pain.

    Anyway even at the young age of 31, I want the extra time (assuming the years are good, and I’m surrounded with my loved ones for most of it).

  • Lorena says:

    I’m probably going to die at 50 anyways. My loved ones are kind of tiring, and I suspect that after another 30 years with them, my heart is just going to give out on its own.

  • Frances says:

    Well, since I hit the big 50 last year — my only option is to go for 29+ great years until, alas — that painful last moment. No cats to feed on me — just four dogs. Maybe I should start teaching them to dial 911, or turn them into vegetarians?????

    • cardiogirl says:

      This question should be amended to say five years from now or at age 80. And you definitely need to train those dogs to dial 911. The code phrase should be, “Serenity now!”

  • I have already missed the boat. At 65 I can tell you that I am still young, and don’t want to pop my clogs yet. Ask me if I would prefer those extra 15 good years, and I would say “Bring ‘em on!” What’s a bit of pain compared to 15 years of good living? The older you get the more you value your life.

  • Oh My God, again with the horrible questions? I hate these because I don’t like either one, so the real choice here is to pick the lesser of the two evils. I’m an avid evil avoider, so I would just do my damnedest to weasel out of both and pick a third.

    • cardiogirl says:

      We are scraping the barrel on these — we’re basically halfway through the book and I’ve been putting the crappy ones off for a while. I like your moxie, though, in trying to figure out a third option.

  • Lauren says:

    Great colorful vivid imagery: a chandelier with the sharp ornamental spike, then bleeding out…cats munching on fingers…(or Lady Finger treats). I think we die a slow painful death each day. Just saying. I’ll take 80 and a possible chandelier impaling. I’m 54, so that 50 ship has already sailed. I’m more concerned about the spikes on corn-in-the-cob handles. When I’m older and blinder, I’ll more than likely miss the cob.

  • sheila says:

    Since I’m 45 and my youngest is only 6 I’d HAVE to say the latter. I’ve always been a little paranoid and think I am going to die young, I just want to make it until my kids are maybe out of college and on their own. Maybe the scenario would allow me to consume large amounts of painkillers at least.

    • cardiogirl says:

      Hmm. If you take some painkillers, coincidentally, before the chandelier fell you’re good. But if you’re taking them in response to physical pain that’s a no go. Got make these questions extra difficult, you know.

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