ONE of my greatest fears is to die in the bath.
Yes, fear of death is constant. But what make it even scarier are the odds of this happening while I am in the water closet. There’s a chance I will trip and bang my head on the floor while taking a shower. I might have a heart attack while taking a dump. And these could happen with me divested of all of my clothes.
I could sympathize a great deal with people who told me firsthand stories of the dead who died in the john in some funerals I’ve attended. I would tell them that neither do I want to die that way for some reason or another; the truth is I just don’t want to die naked.
Last week my uncle died in the toilet.
Frail with age, word was that hours before he died, he and his wife could still have the muscle to do groceries and carry things around the house. Thereafter, he locked himself up and remained there for hours on end without anybody suspecting until my nephew said he heard the man coo and moan in a desperate attempt to seek help.
The househelp responded quick and managed to squeeze himself through the small rectangular vent on the bathroom door. He saw my uncle’s lips move. He said what he noticed first was my uncle’s flaccid penis.
“So I see now that that is what happens when you’re dying: the first to go is your willy because it retracts into the crevice the way a turtle’s head might,” he said.
I was quick to condemn what he just said as insensitive and flat-out evil. But when told of such things in a way that’s devoid of malice and with a profound sense of discovery, I sort of egged him on to tell me more. Because no matter how far I tried to remove myself from thinking that way, still there’s an element of judgment to it. Here you’re trying to help, all the while distracted with the realization that when you get old your pubic hair becomes white.
After all these discoveries were exhausted and before the conversation went out of hand, I went to the point and asked the househelp whether he was able to decipher what the man’s last words were or to whom they were addressed.
Apparently, he was too preoccupied to catch it. As for me, if I were to die in the bath and were spared with a chance to talk before I die, it is to make a wish to be given a moment to put on my clothes.
Vernon Velasco is a writer for the BusinessMirror. The views Velasco expressed in this column are his own and do not necessarily reflect the BusinessMirror’s.