Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Being Dead by M R Cornelius: Guest Post

Fifty-seven year old Robert Malone is the CEO of a successful clothing store chain and married to a former model. When his doctor tells him he is dying of cancer, he refuses to go quietly. Instead of death, Robert choses cryonics. He knows it’s a long shot. His frozen body will be stored in liquid nitrogen for the next seventy-five years, and then he’ll wake up in the future. That is, if technology develops a way to bring him back.

He’s willing to take that gamble.

What he doesn’t realize is that he won’t lie in some dreamless state all that time. His soul is very much awake, just like the others who were frozen before him. And like these souls in limbo, Robert begins a new kind of life outside his physical body.

He discovers that he can ride in the cockpit with the pilots, but he can’t turn the page of a magazine. He can sit in the oval office with the president, but he can’t prevent a child from dashing in front of a car. He doesn’t work, or eat, or sleep. He can’t smell, or taste, or touch. These obstacles make it difficult to experience love, and virtually impossible to reconcile with the living.
Over the next several decades, Robert Malone will have plenty of time to figure out The Ups and Downs of Being Dead.

Spooktacular Jack1

Why do we like being scared?

For some, it’s a thrill ride at an amusement park, for others it’s a scary movie or book. During October, thousands of people will visit haunted houses. Some folks actually feel the need to risk life and limb on ziplines, bungee jumps, mountain climbing, and whitewater rafting. But no matter what we choose, it seems to be for the same reason: the feeling it gives us.

According to Margaret ‘Peg’ Burr, MA, MFT, Santa Clarita, California, “The hormonal reaction we humans get from responding to a threat or crisis is what motivates us to ‘like to be scared’. This is the same ‘fight or flight’ syndrome which guaranteed our survival in more primitive times. At the moment we are threatened, we have increased strength, power, heightened senses and intuition. This increase in mental and physical capacity is commonly referred to as an ‘adrenaline rush’.”

Burr believes humans are drawn, even ‘hard-wired’, to this feeling. But now that we’re not running away from saber-toothed tigers, we seek other means of being scared. We crave the heart-pounding exhilaration of victory. We revel in the heady breathlessness of triumph. And yes, we giggle nervously at our narrow escape. It’s almost like we are genetically programmed to relive the trauma of our ancient ancestors.

But here’s what’s interesting. Why is it my son can watch any horror movie, no matter how scary or gruesome, but when a spider crawls across the living room floor in real life, he totally freaks out? A woman who races motorcycles is afraid of snakes? A kid who rides the roller coaster with his hands up in the air, shies away from the clown at a birthday party?

The reaction is the same: elevated heart rate, difficulty breathing, sweating, and the urge to run away. So why do we pay money to walk through a house of horror, teaming with cobwebs, slithering snakes, and giant spiders, but when we’re confronted with the real thing, we panic? Is it because we chose one, but not the other? Are these really two totally different reactions?

Is there a good scared, and a bad scared? What do you think?

After working for fifteen years as a cafeteria manager in an elementary school, Marsha Cornelius turned in her non-skid shoes for a bathrobe and slippers. She now works at home, writing novels, acting out scenes with her cats, and occasionally running a Swiffer across dusty surfaces.

Like thousands of others, she thought she could write romance, but soon discovered she was a dismal failure. She did increase her repertoire of adjectives such as throbbing, pulsing, thrumming, vibrating, hammering, pumping . . .

She resides in Atlanta with her husband. Her two grown sons occasionally visit for clean laundry and a hot cooked meal.

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PuttPutt1198Eve said...

Extremely interesting way of thinking about what happens when a body is cryogenically preserved. Who knows what happens? Has anyone ever been revived? Kinda creepy, huh!?

Brooke said...

I think this book has a very interesting concept. I'm curious to how it works out.

I do think there's a bad scared and a good scare.

Going voluntarily through a haunted house with friends is totally different from waking up with a spider on your face.

The haunted house experience is chosen, we know it's fake, and it's a bonding experience when you go in groups. Laughing at the failure of things to scare or laughing at each other's responses.

Waking up with an insect on your face is just creepy. There's an instant response to the foreign crawling object on your face that might bite you.

I feel no shame for screaming like a little girl over insects.

Karen Arrowood said...

I do NOT think I would like to spend time wandering around outside my body! While it would be great to be able to go anywhere you wanted and see all the things you hadn't been able to see before, the inability to interact with your environment would be incredibly frustrating.

Goldenmane said...

I think the conventional out of body experience is much preferable to being dead.

Goldenmane said...

Strange being so many people. Goldenmane follows the author via Twitter as @Epona1448. Goldenmane is also Irene M.