THE EXAMINED LIFE

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
–Socrates

Every writer at one time or another will come to the truth that we all, must face and that is
self-examination.

I look back over my life and the one thing that life has taught me about myself more than any other is
death. I really believe death is simply a punch in the nose from truth, and that punch usually hurts.
I recall as a boy of maybe four or five years old and I saw my father cry for the first time.
It was at my grandfather’s funeral and my father wept without shame and I was transfixed.

Since that time I have attended many funerals and each time I experience a profound self-examination.
The one death that really shook me was the death of my ex-wife’s brother David.
It was late fall and my ex-wife and I had just returned home from the movies.
The phone rang and it was my ex-wife’s brother David; his voice came clear and loud onto the phone’s
answering machine.

“Hey sis, are you there?
Pick up the phone…
This is David…if you’re there, please pick up the phone…sis, it’s ME!”

My ex-wife waited for the message to end and then she walked to the phone and pressed down on the erase button.
I felt so strange; I kept thinking: “Why didn’t she answer the damn phone?”

I stared at my ex-wife and she knew I was not pleased with what just happened.
I walked into the bathroom closed the door and washed my hands for supper.
It was a long day and as my head touched the pillow I quickly fell into slumber.

The phone rang loudly and I jumped up from my nightmare; I looked at the clock on the night stand and it was 3:39 A.M. and my heart fell into my stomach. I knew death and truth was on the other end of the line. My ex-wife quickly picked up the phone, but slowly did she place it to her ear.

I stood frozen with fear.

My ex-wife dropped the phone to the floor and began to wail.
I picked the phone up slowly and my ex-wife’s older sister was calling my ex-wife to tell her that
their brother David had just died; he had a heart attack.

When there was nothing more to say we hung up the phone, I sat on the edge of the bed with my head in my hands. My ex-wife ran to the phone and continued to hit the reply button trying to recover the
voice of her brother. I walked slowly to my ex-wife and put my arms around her and her shoulder fell and she wept for her brother.

Death is always a punch in the nose from truth and that punch usually hurts deeply.

Charles Micheaux
Micheaux Publishing

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You can watch Oscar Micheaux films @ YouTube.

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