Early in 1996, the year when I was going to turn 48, I decided that this was the year during which I was probably going to die.
No family predisposition to early mortality.
No clinical indications of depression or ill health.
I was still firing on all cylinders, although lower gears needed to be selected when going up hills, and there were a few other worrying mechanical noises and exhaust emissions which indicated that the journey was not going to last forever.
My life had been interesting and productive up to that point, so I simply decided that my time was probably up.
I figured it was better to die with only preliminary signs of decrepitude in 1996 than hang around annoying people into the next millennium with my malingering whilst waiting for the wheels to fall off completely.
Nineteen ninety six was also a nice looking even-numbered year.
Born in an even-numbered year I like the idea of symmetry and balance. Forget astrology and all that sort of bunkum.
It all comes back to numbers.
If I ever died in an uneven numbered year I would be forever pissed off afterwards.
Forty-eight plus forty eight equaled ninety-six. (and probably still does) Beautiful numbers.
All exquisitely divisible by two and one into the other.
Time for GOF to depart in this moment of exotic equilibrium.
Observers of my gravestone would remark;
"there lies a man who lived a life of exquisite numerical balance."
So I paid my taxes, packed my pillow and waited for the train to take me to the Kingdom of Eternal Rest.
The trouble is that now, fourteen years later, in moments of deep philosophical contemplation, can I ever really be completely certain that I did not die?
All these current preoccupations I have with middle-aged ex supermodels, flight simulators, growing pretty plants and blogging might just conceivably be components of my afterlife.
One or two of our deep thinking Vox neighbors seem to know a lot about this "proof of life" stuff but I probably never paid enough attention to them.
But then again, how can I be absolutely certain that they too are not also dinner guests seated at some heavenly table from which we may all be dining.
I'm confused, and what's left of my either dead or alive brain is overloaded, so I'm off to have a little lie down.
Please wake me up when you think you have an answer to my conundrum.
But only if you have unequivocal and absolute proof of your life status.
I don't want some dead person trying to tell me what to do.
I'm not a complete weirdo.