I believe that death is inevitable. Ergo, I am not going to risk dying angry with the world. This belief is not the result of some cosmic event. It is not the brainchild of a near-death experience. It is not the backwash of any deep-rooted emotional trauma, and it certainly is not a consequence of divine intervention. I acquired my belief on a quiescent boat listlessly drifting towards Cairo.
It was a serine Egyptian night. The stars glowed like fireflies and the moon shone like a beacon in the cavernous night. That night, I chose to forsake my American friends and their costume hullabaloo. I was in no mood to dabble in the skin-deep beguilement offered by my compatriots. I was angry. I wanted time to rant, time to fume, time to get even.
I mounted the nearest ladder on the deck and ascended to the boat’s roof. I debouched from the ladder to the deck rail as fast as I could. My mind spawned anger, and lust for vengeance. I contemplated jumping off the boat, I contemplated getting revenge. I swore to the heavens. I spouted profanity after profanity in Russian, French, Italian, and English. I paced about the rail like a caged cat, prepared to attack anything within reach.
“You are… too angry” hummed a deep Mediterranean voice. I pivoted and saw the face that would change my life. Before me stood an old Italian man, his olive skin simmering in the moonlight. His majestic grey hair was slicked back. He placed his hand on my shoulder with a firm grip and continued, “If I were to kill you now… oh bad example… well if…” He trailed off about death in his fragmented English. Finally after considerable thought he proclaimed, “You can die anytime! Why risk dying angry. Life is beautiful you just need to see it”. His colloquial locution only enhanced his speech. Though the reasons are still enigmatic to me, the good doctor calmed me down. I was no longer like a bat out of hell.
We continued to talk for a small span of time. Despite the language barrier we conversed about many subjects ranging from religion to depression. In this time he taught me to appreciate the small things in life. I learned a lot from my time with the doctor. Now, when I feel the sharp tinge of rage coursing through my spine, I think back to the doctor. I think back to our conversation and shared beliefs and my rage becomes subdued. In truth, this is not a fortune cookie saying spouted by an intoxicated Italian. I believe it is sage advice which has helped get me though life in one piece.
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