Imagine this, you’re in the passenger seat of your best friend’s car. The driver, said best friend, is speeding across the desert highway at near top 180km/h, all the while bopping to a terrible trashy nightcore remix of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. The witching hour arrives and the sheer lack of cars on the road is the enabler for this mess you are in. Hair pulled back, heart thumping and the general discomfort that comes with an unintended adrenaline rush, you hate this.
10 minutes later (saving what would possibly be a mere 5 minutes of additional journey time at a respectable speed), we arrive. I’m pissed, and like any endearing mother-ing friend, I nag at them to slow the fuck down. Their response:
But did you die?
This is the kind of answer that always intrigued me. It is a statement that incites negligence and nonchalance- that as long as you’re alive, it’s not the end of the world. I see the idea – focus on the bigger positive picture, the possible result of risk taking and consequences vs. reward. It sounds harmless enough, trying to enforce positivity as a way to toughen through the darkest of times.Though, I don’t particularly care for the context it is often used in.
When these few little words were reiterated this morning to the small group of 11 young, upcoming and aspiring artist – entrepreneurs, it had the same effect on me. You could lose all your money in the world, all your family either dead or gone, or live so close to the poverty line that much will not matter anyway. I’ve met suicide victims who lost everything too at one point, only, they weren’t glad to be told they’re ‘alive’ at least. Though regretfully, I digress.
But did you die?
For art practitioners, this risk taking is an interesting marry. What IS the worst thing that could happen to us anyway? When the romanticization of art and the Bohemian Dream lives at the forefront, and as naive as this question sounds, is losing money the worst thing in the world for us? Despite the purest of intentions I can garner from this open conversation, and as pedantic as this may be, this phrase irks me in the wrong places. The whimsical vibe it gives off, even more so, seems to omit the gravitas of the situation and the risks that have been set in place.
Lest we forget there may be things worse than death.
Still, I guess – no harm no foul. Good intentions there are, and it’s a silly quote from a 10 year old movie now. If i read any more into it, it’s practically neurotic.