7/15/08

Instant Delayed Karma

Today I went to scan an automobile insurance form at the family history center in the library and there was a large dead man, probably about 75 years old, on his back on the floor. He probably weighed 300 pounds and his neck was fuschia and blotchy as it burst out of his shirt. His legs were limp and his olive trousers were wet where his bowels had vacated. I became alert and looked around: a senior missionary held a phone to his ear as he waited on hold with 911, another senior missionary on her knees placed a plastic CPR mouth cover on the dead man's lips and several individuals gathered around to see what they could do. The fact that there was a dead man on the floor didn't change my need to scan my insurance forms, so I started my scan.

I went for some paper towels so that the pseudo-EMT student that showed up could wipe up the blood from the man's head. Apparently he'd hit it on the way down. I did help, is my point, but really, what could I do? He's dead. He'd been very dead for over 10 minutes, and he had been building up to this moment for fifty years every time he had a burger instead of a salad. There was absolutely nothing I could do, and so I did what I had to do and made sure more competent people than I were around to care for the dead man and then I left.

I thought about later while I waited for my Scantron results at the testing center. As I slid my red bubble sheet to the student across the table on the way out, I realized I should have studied more. I didn't though. I scraped across the carpet and stared up at the LCD TV to look for my results. 11 out of 16, 73%. Heck. As trotted down the rounded yellow stairs out of the testing center, I thought about how heartless Scantron machines are. They don't care if you are trying (kind of) but really busy. They just mechanically process right and wrong, binary ones and zeros. That's the thing-- they just don't care. Sliding my hand off the end of the flat stair rail, I laughed at myself and my complaints about heartlessness.

3 comments:

Sky said...

Wow. I saw the ambulance outside the library when I came in. My first thought was one of you were hurt. But, there was no commotion anywhere. The library was calm. I guess no one gets adrenaline going when someone is already dead. Was he just visiting or did he work here?

Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

He was just a visitor. No one knew who he was, just a man wanting to look up patriarchal blessings.

I've bragged about this to too many people already, but I suggested checking his wallet for info (possible medical info, etc.) but no one else wanted to.

Natorade said...

well that's what old people do. Just up and die. McDonalds doesn't help. Can't help but laugh when I think about you stepping over the dead man to copy things. Did your face stay shocked as you punched in how many copies you wanted? (You know if I harass you, it's because I know you can take it... or I just don't care) either way don't feel bad about the dead man or the 73. 73 is passing and death is bound to get us all anyways, even in a library.