BEING AND SHOWTIME
Chapter 7 of Being and Showtime recounts a story that Del Close supposedly told to his friends on his deathbed. It is a story adapted here—a story about the meaning of life and how we face our life knowing that we will die and all we have done will fade away. It's a story about doing our tricks.
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A master skydiver jumps from a plane and does his tricks for a full minute. On the ground below, his fans and family watch him through binoculars, proud and cheering. He finishes his show and pulls his cord. The parachute expands out...and rips to shreds in the wind. The spectators gasp but are seasoned enough to know that this is not the end. Sure enough, unphased, the skydiver pulls the cord for his reserve chute. And the reserve chute expands out...and rips to shreds in the wind.
Now, on the ground below, everyone starts to cry. They know what he knows. There is nothing to be done, nothing that can help him now. There is only the Earth rushing up to meet him, relentless and unforgiving, an impossible blur.
A few moments pass, the crowd watching in sadness and horror. It’s then that they see him right himself in the rushing wind. And for the rest of his fall, he continues doing his tricks and his stunts. The most beautiful spins and tucks and figures carved out of the rushing air, each more wonderful than the last, up—down—until the Earth swallows him.
We are, each of us, headed for that same Earth.
The question is whether we fall screaming in agony or we fall doing our tricks.
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