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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:

There are flies on the windscreen…

I woke up this morning and readied myself for an unpleasant experience. My friend Kurt lost his daughter Nikki at the age of 19 a week ago, the victim of a freak accident at a local water park. I had known Nikki since she was a young child, and it was a brutal moment to get the news of her passing. It offended my sense of right and wrong, with so many evil pieces of shit still sucking down oxygen in our world and an amazing kid like Nikki so suddenly gone.

However, before I headed out to the church for Nikki’s memorial service, I logged on check my mail and discovered that Michael Turner had passed last night, finally succumbing to cancer after a years-long battle. Turner was 37 years old, in what should have been the prime of his life and now his family and friends are bereft of him.

I just turned 38 three weeks ago.

Growing up, I had a sense that I might not live to be a ripe old age. I was surrounded in my family by alcoholism, and that contributed to more than one death. Years of alcohol abuse certainly helped push my father to an early grave, gone nearly 15 years now, having not even made it to 45.

The thing about being a geek is that you get jaded sometimes to the effects of real life. Somebody dies? It’s off-panel. Or it gets retconned and suddenly that person is back amongst the living. Hello, Jean Gray! But real life… it doesn’t work that way. No one is traveling through time to stick my father in rehab twenty years ahead of his demise. I can’t clone Nikki and save Kurt the heartache of losing his daughter.

So mortality has been on my mind. And while I thought for a long time that I wouldn’t mind making an earlier exit than most, I suddenly find myself wanting to stick around and see the end of the party. I want to fight for it. So I’ve been making changes in my life. I gave up my 6-8 Coke a day habit last year after San Diego and caffeine in general, something my doctor told me I needed to do 13 years ago. I have an exercise bike and a weight bench (and I use ‘em), and I even took up pilates a few months ago. I’ve gotten better at portion control, and I no longer just “wing it” on recipes- strict measurements only. I’ve even become quite the reader of nutritional information on the sides of packages. And I’m doing pretty well, health-wise, as it turns out.

I may never drop a shit-ton of pounds or become the world’s sveltest nerd, but I am doing what I can to take care of myself better and put forth effort into it. In the end, it may make no difference- Mike Wieringo was a health aficionado, and we lost him so suddenly last year. But no one will be able to stand at my memorial and say that I didn’t try. And that’s become important to me.

Marc Mason


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