WHAT WOULD YOU DO
WITH ONE DAY TO LIVE?
We were out to dinner the other night with some friends. The
conversation was dragging a bit, so I decided to spice it up by asking a
"If you had one day left to live, what would you
"Good question," replied Frank (not his real name,
but close). "And very appropriate, considering the North Korea
situation. Maybe I'd take that dream vacation to Guam. Might as well go
out with a bang."
Not a bad choice, but I don't think he was serious. I wanted
real answers, so I started it off. "I'd find the perfect water and
waves, and go body surfing," I announced.
My wife was not impressed. "That makes no sense. You
hardly ever go body surfing. And I hate going in the water. Why don't you
find something we could do together?"
"You can come and watch," I replied. "And the
reason I never go body surfing is that whenever I'm near the ocean the
waves are too big, too small or too close to shore. If I had one day to
live, I'd check the surf reports and fly to wherever the perfect waves are
"You hate flying. You've always been fearful."
"THAT'S BECAUSE I'M SCARED OF DYING!" I shouted.
"If I had one day to live, I'll bet I'd be fearless."
Tough to argue that logic, so she quietly listened to the
rest of my tribute to body surfing, which interested no one. I then
selected her to be next to reveal what she would do, and she quickly
perked up. "Well, I'll guarantee you I wouldn't spend it watching you
"We're not dying on the same day," I said, knowing
she would now never include me in whatever she chose, mainly because I
didn't include her. "You can do anything you want."
"I'd eat french fries and gravy all day," she
announced after very little thought. That made sense. She's Canadian.
That's what they do.
Next up was Matilda, who was giving it a lot of thought.
"I'd go to a spa all day, get all kinds of treatments, then I'd get a
long massage, and then...." she paused while she envisioned her last
moments, "and then I'd have sex with someone."
Her husband, Frank, who was sitting next to her, wasn't
pleased. He clearly fell into the "someone" category, but he was
no slam dunk for being picked. Matilda didn't seem to care. She was
engulfed in her final hours and figured he'd get over it.
And he did. "While you're at the spa getting
treatments," he offered, "why don't you include taking one of
those mud baths."
"Why would I do that?" asked Matilda. "They're
"Because," answered Frank, remembering an old joke,
"since you're dying the next day it will give you an idea what it
feels like to be buried in dirt."
Matilda and Frank have an interesting relationship, but it
works. Time to move on to the next couple, Bruno and Daphne.
They're accountants by trade, although they've moved on to
other pursuits. We've known them for 40 years, and when we were in our
20's they proudly told us that they planned on living long, boring lives.
Since then, they've raised a family, travelled the world and had plenty of
adventures. Not so boring, but it's still their mantra.
"You go first, Bruno," said Daphne, exercising her
usual caution. "I need to think about it a little more."
Bruno huffed and puffed and said he would go skydiving,
bungee jumping, hang gliding and race car driving---all in one day. No one
Finally, it was Daphne's turn. She was clearly struggling
with what she wanted to do on the last day of her life. She said she had
gone through lots of options in her mind while everyone was talking, and
had settled on what she considered the perfect day if she only had one day
"I'd take a walk on the beach," she said as we all
leaned forward to hear. "And then I'd go to bed early."
Yes, she was serious. You'd have to know Daphne to
understand. But after we all stopped laughing, we agreed it wasn't the
worst way to spend the last day of your life. Those long walks on the
beach can be exhausting.