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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Quick and the Dead

Sharon Stone in The Quick and the Dead

This is a little jumbled. I've had some thoughts rattling around in my head the last few days and they haven't quite jelled, but I thought I'd dump them out anyway.
    When I hear the phrase "the quick and the dead" I tend to think of gun fighters from the old West where survival depended on fast you were with a gun. You were either quick with your gun, or you were very likely going to end up dead, or at least that was the way it was in TV land.
    It wasn't until much later that I discovered that the phrase originated in the Bible and that the "quick" was simply referring to the living. So "the quick and the dead" refers to all souls, dead or alive. Seems I have heard "quickening" used in reference to something coming alive, probably in an old time horror movie.
    Just for grins I checked a King James Bible for this phrase and found three instances:

  1. The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy 4I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
  2. The First Epistle General of Peter 4: who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
  3. The Acts of the Apostles 10And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
I got onto this subject because of Memorial Day. Memorial Day never set right with me. Seems like a lot churchy clap-trap without any real substance. Why bother remembering the dead? It's not going to do them any good. They're dead. Nothing on Earth can touch them anymore. Shoot, you might consider them the lucky ones compared to the people that were maimed, crippled or disfigured by war. And the speeches. All that talk about the "solemn occasion" and "the ultimate sacrifice" and those who "gave their lives" for our freedom. What a load of hooey. They didn't give their lives, they had their lives taken from them by all those who conspired to put them in harms way.

    I suppose I might feel differently if I had know anyone who was killed in a war, but I don't. I know a few people who have children in the military, but they are all (cross my fingers) still alive and well. One did get shot during some kind of interdiction on the high seas, but he has recovered and has returned to duty.

    A few years ago there was a movie called Proof of Life about a kidnapping in South America and the subsequent negotiations. Russel Crowe and David Caruso played soldiers of fortune. They get called in to take over the negotiations from a gang of locals and they evict the former negotiators at gunpoint. Nobody gets shot, the local guys depart and our heroes are now in business. Russell turns to his partner and says "That was fun." like it really was fun and David concurs. (It's like the last 6 seconds of this clip.)
    Hell yes it was fun. For a brief moment there we were alive! That's one of the things we hear from soldiers coming home is that they never felt so alive as they did when they were in combat. The other thing I hear from soldiers in Afghanistan is that when they are over there, they only want to be back home, but when they get home, all they want is to go back over there. Life here is just so deadly dull. Life in Afghanistan might be terrifying, but it isn't dull.
    Once you've had your fill of stressful situations, deadly dull can be nice, but do we really need to drain the life out of everything? No wonder people do the crazy shit they do. They want to feel alive. Our modern society can provide everything we need except it's all dead, dead, dead.

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