On the way home from work yesterday I was listening to the Jersey Guys. They were asking people to call in if they would watch the video of the trainer from Sea World who was fatally wounded by the killer whale Tilly.
I knew my answer right away but was shocked to hear some of the callers. I would not under any circumstances watch that video, not for any moral reason or karmic retribution, but for myself.
Once you’ve seen death you no longer have a morbid curiosity about it any longer. That’s true for me anyway. I watched my mother die before my eyes in the hospital. It’s a memory I cannot evict from my brain as much as I would like to do so. I watched a man fall off a ladder across the street from our house in Nutley. He had a heart attack on the top of the ladder and fell dead to the ground. By the time I grabbed my phone to call 911, the police and ambulance were already there. I had nightmares for over a year about this poor man who I didn’t even know. I’ve seen people in fatal car accidents smashed to bits. I once saw a body on the Garden State Parkway covered by a sheet. He was only wearing one sneaker and as I looked alongside my car, there the other one lay.
Death is not something I’m comfortable with. In the Faces of Death craze in the 1980’s, I couldn’t bear to watch a minute of those VHS tapes. When I watch a movie, I cannot stomach the thought of people dying. Animals in the movies are a whole other issue. Just with the impending danger of an animal dying, I have to shut off the TV immediately as I get weepy and cry. And even though I know it’s not real, I can’t help get upset. I think Bambi scarred me for life.
So maybe it’s me. I have a problem with death. I have no curiosity about it morbid or otherwise. Something so tragic saddens me and makes me look away. It does not seduce me to watch. I’ve lost so many people who were important to me and now there are more of us in the ground than on the ground.
So I ask you. Would you watch that video? Why or why not? Is it a morbid curiosity or just morbid? Do you just want to look death in the eye when he’s not after you? Is it safer to watch someone you don’t know die? Not for me. Tell me what you think.