The City of Gold

Two o’clock. I dreamed about the mystery of death. It was a secret kept at the end of the basement hallway, put there by the Programmer. Vaguely there was something about the Tarzan books I read during junior high school too. In the sixteenth book, the City of Gold, Tarzan was given a serum to make him physically immortal. He would be deathless until someone took him out. He would never age from that point. But however I may wish, I know I’m not like Tarzan. I see the evidence gathering around me, signs of implacable old mortality, the Grim Reaper in the autumn leaves. It always seems impossible to us that our turn is coming. Yet when we realize it, we start to think about what really counts before we go. How do we want to be remembered? For it’s inconceivable we should be utterly forgotten. Somewhere we’re leaving footprints, hopefully not in the sands of time but rather in indelible stone. Or maybe this is too much to ask. The most we can expect is a cease from the pain and suffering of mortal life. The kicker to the whole thing is how complex the human mind is, how well adapted to the universe by means of mathematics for some and imagination for others. Human beings are so amazing that it’s hard to believe our lives come to an end. Certainly we can cheat death and live forever? And be like Tarzan once again, invincible lord of the jungle. So what did the Programmer put in the basement of my mind? Consciously I can barely remember the plot of a single Tarzan novel, yet I know those stories are all there in the archives. I read the bulk of the series while a ninth grader. They kept me healthy and strong all that year. I wonder what the 15yo projected onto Tarzan, interfusing our fates? For after all, I was the Programmer…

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