« Weekend Update | Main | Grama's Hands »

Monday, 23 April 2007

The Art of Dying

By Alan Ginocchio of The Cyberspace Dawdler

I must have only been around six years old, maybe seven, when I discovered that even at that young age there was, indeed, an apparent "art to dying". With a steady diet of the Saturday afternoon matinee at the neighborhood theatre there was Hopalong Cassidy, Lash Larue, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, The Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, just to name a few who filled the screen issuing out their brand of frontier justice.

And I learned early on that the bad guy couldn’t just drop to the ground dead when they got shot. No - there was style and technique involved. And apparently the longer it took to hit the ground after being shot, the better.

So I would practice for hours in my small bedroom before finally taking my act on the road. First I had to learn how to vocally perfect that gun shot sound. Then I would make the gun shot sound and fall mortally wounded across my bed but - not before holding my gut while twitching and staggering till the fatal end finally came.

Then when I had my style and technique perfected, I took it outside for a good game of ‘Cowboys and Indians’ with my playmates where I could finally put my dying skills to the test. If you were really good at dying, your playmates would holler at other playmates to come over and watch you die. Competition, however, was tough among my playmates. They all thought they had a lock on the best way to die. From my viewpoint however, it was really no contest.

Then a couple of years later, say around eight or nine years old, I realized that it might be a good way to impress the girls in the neighborhood. Sure enough, every now and then I would run across a girl who would clap with glee and jump up and down after I went through my dying act. That, by the way, is when you knew you had really made it.

Now the girls, on the other hand, didn’t have a clue as to how to die. If one would even allow me to shoot them to begin with, they just seem to collapse like a wet wash cloth. It was somewhat embarrassing and humiliating just to be close by when they did their dying act. Based on that, I would almost never shoot a girl if the rest of my gang was anywhere near. At any rate, I just don’t think the girls really understood the importance of it all.

But that was then - and this is now. And as I approach the ripe old age of 66 I can only hope that I can carry what I learned back then with regard to the art of dying forward to the day when it all becomes quite real. I hope that I still posses the grace and class that I exhibited back in those much younger years when it all seemed so real – yet manifested itself in a simple game of make believe.


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:41 AM | Permalink | Email this post


From your mouth to our Maker's ears, Alan. Your movie experiences at a young age parallel mine, and even we girls used to practice dying, a la cowboy.

I have really missed your writing since you started the new blog - and I am pleased to see it here!

My brother and I used to die regularly across each other's beds. There was lots staggering and twitching, jerking and moaning involved. It was one of our favorite activities. And I was a girl. You just didn't know the right kind of girls.

Hi, Alan. I used to practice the "Camille cough", "Hack, hack, sigh, hack, hack, sigh". With the back of my hand on my forehead. I'm sure I looked elegant.

Thanks for a great story, Alan. As kids, it's so easy to glamorize death because we haven't usually experienced it up close and personal. By the way, in my "gang" of friends I was Belle Starr, brave and thoughtless about death. Now I can barely watch the news anymore. I guess I project too much, but one has to keep a sense of humor about--everything, including death.

Oh, it was the heroine's swoon, for me. Hand to forehead or heart, and then the perfect graceful fall to the ground where I would be swooped up in the hero's arms. No dying for me, though, for then what would the hero do? :)

The comments to this entry are closed.