The other day I dropped by to visit my Grandmother who lives in a retirement home that is pretty much straight from the script of In Her Shoes, if you're familiar with the film (and that was a reference, NOT a recommendation, just to clarify). She invited me to walk over to the clubhouse for a food sample fair.
It was pretty great-- imagine "sample day" at Sams or Costco, only without the shopping part. And wine. Whee! In addition to food, there were some vendors with paper products. The gentleman peddling napkins that were made from 100% sugar or corn products instead of trees (don't ask me how that works...) showed my grandmother his product and assured her, "they come in a pack of 1000". She replied, matter-of-factly, "oh, I won't live that long".
I choked on my fried zucchini with wasabi sauce, but then caught myself. It wasn't a pitiable or dramatic statement, she was just offering her opinion, like who might win the World Series or something. Considering she'll be 90 in January, my grandmother's pretty healthy. There's a good chance she'd use all 1000 napkins and some, but that's not the point. I was just struck by how very aware my Grandmother was that she would die one day. It's something that we all toss around, but when your initial reaction to a pack of 1000 napkins is that you probably won't be around long enough to use'em, it's a whole different story.
If I internalized the knowledge of my inevitable death to that point, I wonder how that would affect my actions. I think if I really understood-- not just knew, but understood-- that I was going to die, I'd waste less time, pray more and treat people better.
But I'd still buy paper products in bulk.