I would like, if I may, to put a moratorium on the use of the phrase: “Say you get hit by a bus tomorrow…”
If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, always as the beginning of a discussion about contingency plans, or insurance (which I guess is a form of contingency plan in itself). It is, of course, prudent to plan for the absence of key people in the workplace or the family, but…a bus? Really?
Who decided a bus was the go-to instrument of theoretical unplanned absences? Why do we need to conjure such a violent, splattery end for our colleagues and loved ones in order to plan for the future? Is it because being hit by a bus is a realistic enough scenario to be plausible, but not common enough to be completely horrifying? As in, it’s more believable than “Say you’re kidnapped by a gang of sentient CFL light bulbs tomorrow,” but less depressing than “Say you have a fatal heart attack tomorrow”?
Either way, I don’t much like it. If someone is looking me in the eye and imagining a world in which I am no longer there, I’d rather they assume the event that pulled me away was a happier, less gruesome one:
“Say you run off and join the circus tomorrow…”
“Say you take possession of a small tropical island tomorrow…”
“Say a talent scout sees you singing to the watermelons at the grocery store and whisks you away to Broadway to join the cast of Les Miserapples tomorrow…”
“Say you wake up tomorrow and know exactly what you’re meant to do with your life, and you quit your job on the spot…”
It just seems like a bit of a slap in the face to assume the reason I won’t be around anymore is because I have met my untimely demise, especially through something as stupidly pedestrian as getting hit by a bus*.
I know bad things happen, but could we save the morbid reality for reality, and have a little more optimism in our imaginings? Eh? Please? I would prefer not to be terrified of buses, or as I have come to know them, “Contingency Death Machines**.” That’s all.
* (Only slight pun intended.)
** Still working on the name. Fear of theoretical bus death stifles creativity, you know.