shakespeare’s death…

tomorrow happens to be william shakespeare’s birth anniversary. it also happens to be his death anniversary. i never really verified if the latter statement is true, but my english teacher told us so, and i believe her. while in school, when we were first told about this, we never saw death as “death”. sure, we knew, we would all die eventually and it was a horrible, tragic thing, but we never saw death asdeath. in fact, shakespeare dying on his birthday was outright romantic! so much so that a friend (who‘s birthday happens to be today) said that he wished to die on the same date as his birthday too. i told him that it‘s impossible to accomplish that. in response, he said, he would commit suicide and that would accomplish the deed (note how nonchalantly we spoke of death and suicide!) to me, suicide did not seem like the correct way to achieve the same birth-death-date goal. maybe the word i was looking for was “unnatural” or “invalid” or “unreal” or maybe even “unromantic” (i mean “romantic” in its shakespearean sense, not pertaining to love etc...) but what i ended up saying was “illegal”! there were obviously a lot of laughs, for no one could have thought of a poorer choice of a word. the friend asked “what do you mean “illegal”??” i said “i mean, suicide isn’t the right way to go. it happened naturally to shakespeare. if you plot it and commit suicide, it defeats the purpose.” i hoped that i had made my point clear. the friend then paused and reflected on what i had said. then said “ok how about this? i commit a crime for which i get death sentence. they ll ask me for my last wish. i will say i wanna die on my birthday. “legal” enough, right?” more laughter. i really did not find anything to counter and said “yeah that would work. but what kind of crime warrants a death sentence in this country?” his turn to think. never got an answer back!

now, about ten years later, i think of all these stories and think to myself, why did we value our lives so less back then? we weren’t kids. we knew the consequences of, well, dying! then why is it that we sat around a desk, as a team and gave it such serious thought???

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