Saturday, April 05, 2008

Going Out Like a Hundred Year Candle

I am still haunted by the baby neck snapping scene in Battlestar Gallactica.

I understand that it was set up to let you, the viewer, understand immediately that Six is No Good. Evil, even. Then Scott suggested that arguments abound as to whether what Six had done was actually evil or if she was putting the baby out of the way of the harm that was about to rain down on all humans in a few short hours. I am not certain I've come to a conclusion of my own on that yet, but I do understand that from the show's perspective it was the shorthand form of Puppy Kicking. All books, movies and TV shows engage in this: they want you to know who the bad guy is right off. And I get it. I get it. The problem that I had with it is that a) I really don't need to be bludgeoned over the head with this information since Six as Evil is obvious and b) she snapped the neck of an infant child.

On prime time television.

If you're a mom, perhaps you also experienced the sudden shift that I did once I became a mother: whenever there's something in the news about children being hurt, abused or killed I feel like I've been kicked in the gut. While previous to childbearing years I'd feel sympathy, I never felt it like I do now.

Because now it could be my child.

The fear of losing my children to death or kidnapping or just out and out losing them, like in a store, is so great that I have nightmares flash before my eyes as I walk down the stairs carrying a twin or two. I'm always worried that I'll trip and we'll crash to the ground and it will do such awful damage that --

I can't even bring myself to write it out. You'll just have to imagine it in your own head.

These grim thoughts took place in the shower, so in order to get out of that train of thought, I switched over to how I want to die instead.

Yeah, it was a weird and creepy thought day.

So far, the best option I can see is the one that Eric mentioned: he and I die together at 125 years of age, in a freak fission accident, aboard our personal spaceship after a long and happy life together.

That would be ideal.

I certainly don't want to go out the way my father will, via Alzheimer's or my aunt (his sister) did, via Parkinson's disease. The long, slow, loss of self is agonizing to watch and probably worse to experience until you're so far gone that you don't even realize it's happening any more. I really don't want to die in a car or plane accident (one of my greatest fears, after the death of my children), since you're fully aware until the last moment.

I really don't want my last thought to be "Oh shit!".

Although I do have to admit that the abruptness of it has its appeal, it's the randomness factor that bothers me and the fact that I might be too young when it happens. I really want to stick around, in good health, long enough to know my grandchildren.

I also don't want to be murdered like my step-aunt was: fast, fear-filled and horrible. Nor do I think I want to experience the last year of Eric's grandmother's life, although she made it to 99 fantastic years of age. My own grandmother told me that she was tired of living at 94 and then went on to live another two years after that; although she did have all of her wits about her until the very end. She, however, was in very poor health for at least the last four years of her life.

So, what's left?

I think being snuffed out like a candle, after having lived a long and full, happy and healthy life - survived by my children and any grand- or great-grandchildren - would be ideal. Let's keep that in mind: they are my descendants. I must pre-decease them.

So while it may have been a kindness to the infant in BSG, I think that mother's life abruptly became a living hell until she was put out of her misery by an invading force of raging toasters.

Don't even get me started on how unrealistic it was of a new mother to allow an absolute stranger to hold her child, either. Like that would ever happen! Psh! Invading hordes of enraged chrome covered cookware I can believe, but a new mother handing off her newborn to a stranger? As if!


Valerie said...

I'm hoping that is something from season 2 that I have blocked from my memory and not a spoiler for a season 3 episode I haven't seen yet.

It's not is it? Right? Right?

You gotta warn a gal about these things!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Whew! That was a cheerful post, wasn't it? Thanks! And I think you meant to use the word "descendents" - "ante" means before.

You sound like all of us - we all want to die perfectly healthy at the age of 90, in our sleep. My dad said that once, and then he went and had a defibrillator implanted! That pretty much precludes the dying peacefully in your sleep scenario.

This is depressing me too much. I'm going to bed.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

No, it was from season 1, Val. I haven't finished season 2, so you're totally safe. See? You've forgotten! It was right before the bombing started.

Sorry SC! And thanks for the vocab update. My brain, she is lucky I can still spell. mostly. Next post will be fluffy and happy and light!

Valerie said...

Was that in the miniseries? You know I don't think I ever saw the whole thing. I guess I should go back and do that huh.

Though I was thinking about it and it's probably better to know something like that is coming so I can brace myself or turn way.

jennifer h said...

You'd better show some pictures of babies and puppies tomorrow, just so we can recover.

Yes, I think about this stuff a lot. At least if I die in my sleep, someone will be around to find me, since my daughter assures me that after college, she's moving back home with me. She's 6, by the way. :-)

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Hell yes.

That scene was almost enough to turn me off BSG forever.

Fracking toasters.

Still gives me nightmares.

alessa said...

Thanks, Hatchet, I had almost put that out of my hed...

Missy said...

Ugh, I too have flashes of horrible things that could happen to my children. I hate that. I used to have them coming down the stairs with #2 which probably has something to do with the fact that I did trip and fall down the stairs with her once. Managed to keep her head from hitting the ceramic tile floor in the kitchen by some magic of Motherhood. Mine often happen when the kids are playing on tall playground equipment, or when riding their bikes. It is a wonder we ever go outside.

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott said...

First post was full of typos..

Yeah.. though who can forget Thomas Covenant; he rapes someone in the first few chapters then goes on to be the 'hero' of the book? Yeah.. someone kill that guy.

But on another note.. you're all talking like you plan on dying at some time?

Me? I plan on transferring my consciousness to an electronic medium through my patented "Scott's Test for Contiguous Consciousness Method." After which I will go on to rule the universe from beyond the grave..

Nina said...

I am SO glad that I don't watch much TV now and have no tolerance for violence. I probably would be having nightmares about that for years. I can totally NOT watch Law and Order SVU since having kids too.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Jennifer: If she's moving back in she's gotta cook, right?

Jenny: it was pretty awful especially since I didn't know what I was getting into. How dark would BSG go? Now, of course, I'm hooked. My friends are pushers! Dealers of TV shows!

Scott: Hah! Yes, Thomas Covenant was a helluva protagonist, wasn't he? Bleah. Sometimes I regret having read that series.

Missy: the bike riding is hard to watch. I keep waiting for the crash and scream.

Alessa: you're welcome! : )

Nina: I know. I'm a visual violence light weight since we don't watch TV at all. On the bright side, we don't have to worry about commercials, either.

Alessa said...

I couldn't read more than the first Thomas Covenant book. I wanted to rip his balls off, but then I realized they probably had already dropped off in "real life", and put the book down a happier woman.

BSG is Crack, I tell you! CRACK! But not as pleasant crack as Farscape was, at times.

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