fun and death again

Dying isn’t fun. Being dead, in all likelihood, is not fun. Someone else’s death, even a pet’s death, is not fun. And yet, and yet playing dead is immensely fun. Fun of such immense immensity that we have managed to immortalize it in games like Ring Around the, you know, Rosy. Rosy, as in if you see a rosy splotch on your bod, and ring, as in if there’s a ring around it, then, ashes is what you’re way to becoming, ashes ashes, and we all ultimately fall, like, down. And, you know, laugh.

And there’s playing dead. You know, just plain playing dead. And pretending to die. That’s the fun of playing Cowboys and Indians (or whatever the more politically correct version might be) – the pretending to die part. Clutching the imaginary arrow as it penetrates your core, falling back into the arms of your fellow defenders, or not, “ya got me,” you moan, foamingly swooning into momentary oblivions. And how about all those shoot-’em-up computer games where the only way figure anything out is by getting killed by something.

And we grow, and still we need to play with death. There’s, for further example, one of my favorite dying games, J’Accuse, and countless Vampire-themed games of death and resurrection. And Mafia and Werewolf. And so very many video games, oh yes.

Like anything else we need to understand, especially when it comes to big, hurting things that are too big, too painful to grasp, death and dying are things we need to play with. Over and over again. Not because we need to understand them. But because it’s the only way we can even begin to accept them as real.

1 Comment

  1. Lily on September 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Very thought-provoking post. Sometimes I think that death is a play theme so often since there’s so much “grey area” in our knowledge of facts. Where there are facts, there is less play, since that’s all been figured out, and one person’s imagination can be trumped by another’s facts. Where there are less facts, there is more play, since one person’s imagination is as good as another’s.

    I like that you are referring to play as a tool for dealing with the “un-dealable”. It seems like it desensitizes death, and in reality that’s one of the things play does, but in that desensitization, we are able to find more function in this life, and more fun.

    Love and laughter,

Leave a Comment

This site uses inline comments. To the right of each paragraph, a comment bubble with a + sign appears when you click inside the paragraph. Click the bubble to load the comment form.