Who's this Mortijingle Guy, Anyway?

Words from the High Priest of Mortijingle
K. Mark Lintz


Well, I'd been GOING to write something uproariously funny about how Mortijingle (and, by derivation, Mortijinglists) feel about certain aspects of the Occult. Witchcraft, moons, and Halloween, probably.

Then my cat died. This is a cat who's been in my life...for most of my life. Since I was six. I have vague memories of some cats we had before him; I DON'T particularly remember life without him. It's weird. It hurts. Frankly, there's nothing funny about it.

It's HARD to keep in mind that death isn't a horrible thing when it's happening to someone you love. It's hard to accept that Mortijingle doesn't particularly allow for an afterlife, and atheism less so. An afterlife would be comforting about now. Heck, ghosts would be. A seance wouldn't sound too bad. But just two days ago, I was in a bookshelf with an `alternative religion' section, and wandered over to the children's books area with a bemused smile...

I just don't have any of that to fall back on. People keep saying he's not really `gone', if only in that I still have memories of him. Which, of course, I do, or I wouldn't get all teary at odd moments. But he won't meet me on the walkway up to the house. He won't be in his beanbag, or at his spot in front of the heat vent, or under the bush he liked to hang out in while it gradually fills up with english sparrows. He won't come around meowing indignantly when he's not getting enough skritching.

These people are using some definition of `gone' with which I wasn't previously familiar. It's like telling someone, "Your car may have been stolen, but it's not really gone as long as you remember it." Sure. Tried driving to Kansas lately? He's GONE.

MaBarry has twice now teased me about not being a very good Mortijinglist because I've been so sad about this...so I thought I'd use this issue's Altar to clarify a little about what Mortijingle says about death.

Death, on the whole, is a good thing. Without it, we'd all be standing on each other's shoulders, and I don't even want to THINK about the roach problem. If a particular death happens to be humorous as well, more power to it; but Mortijingle's not so cruel as to pretend it should be FUN for the people around. Mourning is important. Mortijingle only asks that we keep in mind the ones who really -matter- at this stage...to wit, us. The living. The dead people are out of it. It's all very easy for them; they just have to hold still and gradually turn to compost. The rest of us have to get up in the morning and face a world without them.

I'm not sad because Kiki [78482 bytes] -- who I named myself when I was about 6 -- is trapped in a box getting cold as winter sets in. Because he's not. I'm sad because I'll never again be able to rub his tummy while I pour out my problems to him, and then bury my face in his fur until I feel better. I'm sad because while I have my memories of him, and have and will have many more wonderful people and kittycats in my life..there will simply never be HIM again. There's no honest comfort to that; whenever someone dies, the world has lost someone special, and that's worth crying for.

MaBarry first coined the phrase for us. "We laugh because we're alive." Kiki was a part of me, and that means a part of me just died...and yes, for a couple days now, I've largely forgotten how to laugh. But it's coming back, and as it does, I'm much more conscious of what that really MEANS. I have to be sad now, because to do otherwise would be dishonest to myself...but I also have to learn to laugh again, because there are other people I love, and that's worth laughing for.

Next issue, something uproariously funny.

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j n m ( m n j )
"Show me a friend who will weep with me;
those who will laugh with me I can find myself."
-- attributed to a Yugoslavian proverb.