No Surface All Feeling

A young Japanese man wearing a black suit, white shirt and black tie walks into a church, opens an empty coffin, lays down, and closes the lid: “After being told that he had inoperable anaplastic thyroid cancer Shinji looked back on his short life and decided that he had not lived it to the fullest. He immediately made plans to do all the things he wanted to do, like mug a Sony executive; have sex with ten prostitutes in one night; punch his father in the stomach as hard as he could and not apologize (and not only not apologize, but after punching him in the stomach calmly sitting down for a bowl of ramen while his father was still writhing in pain and/or gasping for breath); do the dash and dine at Hatsusaka’s, the city’s most expensive sushi restaurant; surreptitiously replace a Warhol in the National Museum of Modern Art with a painting of his own; and sing Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s cover of ‘Blinded by the Light’ (which he vastly preferred to the original Bruce Springsteen version, something he would have never admitted were it not for his death sentence) verbatim and note for note at his favorite karaoke parlor. That he accomplished all these things was astounding to his friends and co-workers, who gathered at Shinji’s wake to first speak in hushed tones about their former colleague’s dedication and passion and then to loudly and drunkenly vow to do the same with their own lives, whether they lived under the cloud of a terminal diagnosis or not. That none of them retained their convictions going forward was to be expected, although Shinji’s cousin did attempt to make good on his promise to himself by grabbing cotton candy out of little girl’s hand and rubbing it into her face, an act he immediately regretted and spent the rest of his life trying to forget, to no avail, as the sound of her incoherent bleating would haunt him and ring in his ears until the day he died.”