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A self-obituary you must read, by WinAce

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opiate69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 02:08 PM
Original message
A self-obituary you must read, by WinAce


As you may have learned in this thread:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph ...

Allen (WinAce) died yesterday 11/5. Someone posted an obituary he wrote himself in June 2004, knowing that this might happen. It's long, but well worth the read especially for non-believers, even if you didn't know him. His trademark humor is there along with the serious. Talk about bringing people together. There is mourning on nearly every Christian and atheist site on the net.
Since I don't know how to do a quote here, everything below the line is his writing.
__________________

This post is intended to provide help, guidance and hopefully a bit of closure for individuals suffering from SWDS (Sudden WinAce Death Syndrome). Symptoms may include--but are not necessarily limited to--shock, loss of appetite, anxiety, anger, guilt, grief, crying, etc.

And now, a few words from our sponsor:

Hello, all. If you're reading this, you know that I, Allan L. Glenn, am no longer with you. Being a non-theist, and one painfully familiar with what happens to the mind when the brain is damaged/modified, I am 99.9% certain this is the end of the road. Once mine permanently reverts to grade-A maggot food, as it did by the time you're reading this, the person you knew is gone:

"You will never see me again, Helena. Tell our children that I love them, and that their father died in defense of their future. Au revoir...."
- Admiral DuGalle, StarCraft: Broodwar

But while I feel quite sad as I write this, I am comforted by the fact that life in general goes on. Individuals come and go, but our legacy survives. This may consist of anything from the memories that friends and loved ones will cherish for ages, to our impact on the environment, and finally, and most importantly to me, the overall effect we've had on other people. It remains my sincere hope that I was, on the whole, a good friend to those I've enjoyed the honor of calling such. I won't make any excuses for those times when I was petty, or wronged someone; instead, I will only remain hopeful most weren't noticed and ask for forgiveness on the rest.

With that out of the way, I have a confession to make. During life, I had reservations about sharing this knowledge online with everyone but my closest friends. And even among that cherished inner circle, I carefully picked a select few to entrust based on their maturity and (perceived) ability to cope with such revelations without excessive sadness. However, now that I'm dead, there remains no remotely plausible reason to keep it hidden any longer; and, at any rate, the uncertainty of "Where the hell did that guy I used to know... go?" would likely outweigh any benefits from keeping my fate a secret. Thus, I'm finally revealing it publicly. You may all gaze, wide-eyed, stutter for a moment, and then go on reading, while the fundamentalists among you are additionally welcome to throw out a "Haw haw!" or two ala Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons.

The most probable reason I died was complications resulting from Cystic Fibrosis, an inherited disease affecting tens of thousands of (mainly young) people in Europe and the United States alone. It manifests primarily in the lungs and digestive system, producing emphysema-like symptoms and increasingly serious pulmonary infections. In addition, its side effects (and some medications used to treat it) stunt growth and are known to delay puberty. This may help explain my low height and why the pictures I shared were oddly young-looking. Further, more detailed information on this condition can be found at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website.

The reason I remain ambiguous and write "most probable" is because I might have died in a freak parachuting accident, or been kidnapped by a hot female denizen of Toronto; other possibilities include murder by extraterrestrials, spontaneous human combustion, and losing Internet access for many months on end with no prior warning. However, since those range from the unlikely to the implausible, and I've always been a big fan of Occam's razor, you may safely assume I'm dead. (Although, wouldn't it be great if the second one happened, after all? I would have so much fun paraphrasing Mark Twain if and when I escaped--not that I'd want to...)

While this revelation may be initially disheartening, it should also serve as a (further) reminder to strive and live to the fullest, most meaningful extent possible. From an early age, given life expectancies for those afflicted with CF, I had few illusions about living past 30, at best. It is (rather, was) my sincere hope that my friends will live happy, successful and long lives in my stead.

My little blasphemous corner of the Internet, perhaps euphemistically titled the "Not-so-Wonderful World" of WinAce from now on, shall remain mirrored at http://www.winace.clickhalah.com and http://www.winace.andkon.com thanks to some mighty generous hosting offers from the webmasters of those respective sites. Anyone who wishes is welcome to set up additional mirrors, and I hereby give all documents/posts I've authored to the public domain.

Speaking of which, before continuing, for my religious friends, I think it would help if I explained why I became an atheist. I'm not writing this to offend anyone or bring painful thoughts to the forefront, but hopefully to show that being an atheist isn't the epitomy of total corruption or Satin worshipping. (Although, out of all the fabrics available, I'd understand if you wanted to worship Satin specifically....)

Whether for better or worse, I was a skeptical and somewhat cynical kid from the start. At age 4, I was virtually certain Santa Claus' exploits could best be accounted for by postulating trickery on the part of parents. I took little on authority, and tested almost every claim I encountered. I must have inherited the dreaded "skeptic gene"; it was only a matter of time.

In addition, I became aware of my own mortality much earlier than others. The death of my older brother at 6 (from the same disease as I had) hit me quite hard with the realization there was something different about us. Henceforth, my condition forced me to ponder about the nebulous "afterlife" for many a lonely night. At first, with a child's innocence, I believed that all was well in the world, and while my parents weren't particularly religious, I was brought up in the Christian tradition. But there soon appeared chinks in the armor of dogma.

At first, it started with the small stuff--I couldn't readily accept the idea that anyone could be tortured forever as some militant religious schools propose, and came up with a very universalistic view, partially inspired by Friday's religious musings in Robinson Crusoe (which I had read at 9). In my mind, all 'sinners' would eventually be welcomed back to heaven after realizing the error of their ways, even Satan and his fallen angels. Instead of focusing on vengeance or punishment, I wanted to take to heart the timeless words recorded in, of all places, the Bible:

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge... but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
- St. Paul, 1st Letter to the Corinthians 13:1-8,13 (NIV)

Like most others with my condition, I could have remained with whatever religious views comforted me best. But other questions began accumulating at a rather pace, questions that I had trouble finding answers for that didn't somehow seem insincere... or forced.

Why did people in Iran mostly adopt Islam, and people in India do the same with Hinduism? Were they correct, instead? (After some investigation, I decided the answer was most decidedly "No.") Could they really all be insincere? Or could it be that I was only Christian because of innate familiarity, just like they were with their respective religions? And just why were predominant spiritual traditions (of any region) so easily explainable by appeal to natural forces, like conquests and church-sponsored missionary campaigns? Without assuming a priori (that's 'beforehand', for those of you who were home-schooled by fundie parents) the veracity of any of the numerous religions inhabiting our world, I was left with little to fall back on except a generic agnostic theism. As you can guess, I was still a long way to go.

Why did shocking miracles only occur in the distant past? Did God grow weary of the world... were we no longer worthy of a show of power to support our faith? Perhaps, God wasn't immortal at all, and had died sometime in the past--which would also help explain seemingly gratuitous suffering and other observations--? Perhaps our world was a neutral zone where the forces of good and evil had temporarily declared a ban on paranormal confrontations? Wouldn't it be the most ironic and cruel twist of fate if God were simply evil? Or, could it be that the gods never really did interact with people at all, but like modern urban legends, the old stories of their power were grossly exaggerated with the passage of time...?

Why was the Bible, and most other scriptures I had read, filled with apparently vindictive, petty actions that were easily explainable as products of the dog-eat-dog societies they arose in? Why would Artemis demand Agamemnon to brutally sacrifice his own daughter, and why would God order natives of a land destroyed, complete with their children and even livestock? Was I just not getting the obvious, perfectly credible explanation that would have cleared everything up--or did the evidence suggest there was none? And why did these stories all seem so similar in credibility, if not exact details? Was there really more reason to believe they happened than medieval European folklore, for example?

I was quite attracted to science. In addition to being utterly fascinating, I hoped it would help explain some of these questions. Surely, it would show that God must exist and perhaps confirm enough of the other material that it would be prudent to accept the rest. What I found, however, did not bode well for my beliefs. The world was a staggeringly bigger place, both in sheer size and age, than the Bible's genealogies from Adam and ancient cosmology (as state-of-the-art as it was in Babylonian times) suggested. The Noachic global deluge was unanimously rejected by Christian geologists as incompatible with evidence more than a century ago. And apparently, life was no longer as compelling an argument for a designer as it was in William Paley's time.

The last especially intrigued me. These scientists were saying complexity could arise without design (!), merely by virtue of simple patterns slowly culling order from chaos--evolution. I had a hard time believing it at first. So I began looking at the evidence, especially noting creationist "rebuttals."

The data spoke for itself. In every area I looked into in depth, from fossils to genetics, the only reasonable conclusion, one that elegantly accounted for the data in many disparate fields using one coherent explanation, was devastatingly obvious. Opposition arguments were, at best, unparsimonious or speculative compared with the mainstream view, and at worst, with even a little study, easily exposed as outdated and often blatantly dishonest, ideologically motivated nonsense rather than a sincere attempt to find the truth.

What was left? Hold out hope that the advance of science would be stemmed at some undetermined future point, reserving a privileged gap or two for the gods to hide in? Accept that life developed naturally, but nevertheless believe that God built the universe as some sort of humanity breeding ground? While others could no doubt live with these options, to me they seemed almost disingenuous, more an attempt to rationalize away damaging observations inside a particular worldview than adopting the one best supported by evidence in the first place. It seemed that the gods were nowhere to be found, and our ancestors were as wrong in postulating them to account for life as they were postulating them to explain thunderstorms or that blinding white ball in the sky. I officially became an agnostic.

But it wasn't over just yet. I continued voraciously reading everything on related subjects I could get my hands on: Apologetics and counter-apologetics; the social, psychological and historical aspects of religion; science and its relation to vindicating (or rather, contradicting) assorted views on the origin of reality and the afterlife; the epistemology of skepticism towards other things, including alien visitations and cryptozoology (i.e., the Loch Ness monster); and so on. Eventually, after trying to deny it for a while, I could no longer, in good conscience, even give lip service to the concept of theism.

Nowadays, I unambiguously believed, and was strongly confident that, the gods were made in our own image and nothing more. I'm proud to say I was an atheist in a (metaphorical) foxhole. And while lack of oxygen to the brain can impair good judgment, I nevertheless hope I remained true to my ideals to the bitter end. But even if, by some miracle (pun intended), I didn't, I have few regrets about my life as it stands. I particularly enjoyed debating, writing and satirizing, activities that required little physical stress but keen knowledge and a sharp wit.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

No "I died and all I got was this lousy coffin!" post would be complete without patronizing, condescending personalized messages which reveal the most embarrassing facts about you (required by law, don't blame me...), so prepare to sit back and blush, cuss or throw things at the monitor!

Just kidding. While I'd want to individually mention all of you, that would simply make this post grotesquely oversized; in addition, I would inevitably miss someone, hurt their feelings and (not) live to regret it. Therefore, aside from acknowledging one very special person, I'm just going to toss out some generalities, and if you fit in one or more of the following groups, just imagine--as you read my words--that I'm there heckling at you as described.

To Jessica: Parting with such sweet Sorrow... If only I could plant one last, passionate kiss on your neck right now. I'd add something else, but that might be too shocking for comfort, what with my current physical state and all. Not that disgust on the part of a lady has ever stopped me before, of course.

As I write this, my sincerest hope is that you never have to read it, except perhaps as a joke when we're 60 and looking back at our lives... But unfortunately, if you are, it most likely means my lungs have failed us both. I'm so sorry. Sorry for everything. Selfishly, even with the knowledge that this revelation may bring you great sadness, I cannot bring myself to regret pursuing you both on and off-line. But I must acknowledge that, perhaps, it would have been best if you had never known me.

Farewell, my love. If only I could hunt down the evil Thanatos for this, rip out his darkened heart with a rusty can opener and feed it to him, I would. I would be honored if you symbolically did the same, by living for both of us from now on. From what I knew, you certainly had a good start.

"Can the lips sing of Love in the desert alone,
Of kisses and smiles which they now must resign?
Or dwell with delight on the hours that are flown?
Ah, no! for those hours can no longer be mine...

Farewell, my young Muse! since we now can ne'er meet;
If our songs have been languid, they surely are few:
Let us hope that the present at least will be sweet--
The present--which seals our eternal Adieu."
- Lord Byron, Farewell To The Muse

To everyone I used to chat with or email: I won't miss you bums at all--since that would require the mind I used to have and the ability to think about you--but if I were still alive, I certainly would. You people were great. Again, I wish you all the best.

To all my formidable debate opponents, past and present, on this and other forums: Thanks for helping me sharpen my critical thinking skills, wit and assorted views. You get brownie points if you were one of the supremely rare posters that ever won an argument against and forced moi to rethink his position.

To all the people deconverted as a result of my writings: I accept your thanks if you're better off, and/or apologize if that little change in belief systems caused you grief.

To my real-life friends who might happen to read this (all -5 of them): The world needs more people like you and less people like the Bush administration. Hence, go forth and multiply.

To the religious people I knew as friends: I am sooo gonna be embarrassed, initially stunned but very happy nonetheless if we ever meet again, somehow. Should that happen, the drinks and dancing girls are on me. Not that it seems remotely likely.... Nevertheless, I sincerely thank you for reminding me that fundies are only an obnoxiously vocal minority of theists.

To the fundamentalists whose crappy arguments I made fun of: Thanks for a great amount of free entertainment that easily rivaled, and in many cases surpassed, the best George Carlin rants.

To those few people I trusted with this secret until my death: Thanks for everything, and I owe you one. Here's a signed debt slip for several million dollars US, not that it'll do you any good now! Hah, hah, hah.

And for those who think I deserve to be tortured forevermore for sincerely held ideological views that differ from theirs: a hearty "Fuck You, it's your Hell, you burn in it" will suffice.

In closing, I'd like to sign off with one of my all-time favorite poems, which you may very well consider my Internet epitaph:

"When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head
Nor shady cypress tree.
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain.
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set
Haply I may remember
And haply may forget."
- Christina Rossetti, Song

Sincerely, wishing a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night,

Allan Lawrence Glenn,
friend, loved one, webmaster of the "Wonderful" World of WinAce, LordCo Centre product designer, superstition-basher/sarcastic jackass extraordinaire, henceforth dead guy.
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. incredibly sad and moving
Was he a DUer too?
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opiate69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I'm not too sure if he was a DUer...
I know he was progressive, but I thnk his own blog took up the majority of his internet time..
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
2. Amazing and moving.
I never met him but will miss him all the same.
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northamericancitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 02:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. Incredibly lucid man. Brought tears to my eyes.
thanks for posting this.
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Marnieworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
5. Wow! What an extraordinary person.
I would have liked him in life and I'm sad I only met him in death. Thanks for posting this.
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ClayZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
6. Long Live the Wonderful World of WinAce
:cry:


:kick:
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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 03:22 PM
Response to Original message
7. thank you for sharing this, and allowing me to meet, even if after his
passing, a truly remarkable person.

requiescat in pacem, allan, and may there be a place at the millenium solipsist tournament for you.
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blue neen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
8. WinAce was a very talented man. These are such eloquent words.
How sad that Cystic Fibrosis claims so many of our young people.
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checks-n-balances Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 05:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. He was only 21 - how sad; he was especially intelligent & thoughtful
Edited on Sat Nov-05-05 05:43 PM by checks-n-balances
Thank you for posting his thoughts, and thanks to him for writing them down at a time before he could not.

My condolences to Jessica, his sweetheart & love.
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Dee625 Donating Member (132 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. He is a poster case for the need for national healthcare
Actually he was 20.

Denied for lung transplant by Medicaid. No cash, no chance.

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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. only 20? ...he seemed to have the maturity of a 50 yr old.
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whatever4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #12
21. That's what I thought too. Very sad and moving. nm
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mokawanis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Very moving
Moving because it was sad and funny at the same time. He obviously was a courageous and passionate person. He died young, but I suspect it was a life well lived.
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
13. This is a most incredible read.
And it deserves, he deserves, no it just deserves, a look...

So very young but with a level of maturity that most folks lack. I suppose some of that was looking death in the eye for 20 years.
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 11:28 PM
Response to Original message
14. I'm speechless...
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jbnow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 05:11 AM
Response to Original message
15. Allan Lawrence Glenn
used him time on earth well.

What a poignant read. My heart goes out to Jessica, to his family, to all who knew and loved him.

I am heartened to imagine his delight at the world he discovered on leaving his body. That I have no doubt of, but those left behind will find the world emptier because he is gone from them.
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oblivious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 05:21 AM
Response to Original message
16. Beautiful.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
17. wow....
Just wow. That was incredibly moving. There's not a dry eye in my house. Of course, mine are the only ones here, but they're both busy honoring the nobility of human spirit expressed in Mr. Glenn's self-obit. Wow.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
18. Very touching....
How long can the body hold a healthy mind?
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Dee625 Donating Member (132 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. In his case until they put him under
I spoke to him the morning of the day they put him on a ventilator later and induced a coma.

He was telling me how ironic it would be if he died due to an operation that he undertook to try to get Medicaid to save his life. I said I was going to be really pissed. He said he would too except that he would be dead. So I promised to be pissed for both of us.

Now I need to figure out how to channel that.
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Maestro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
19. No words....
He obviously was a very lucid, highly intelligent individual. I shutter to think of what I was thinking about at 20. His time was short but well spent.
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
22. very sad n/t
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northamericancitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. more people nee to read this. Infinitely human.
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Dee625 Donating Member (132 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-05 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
24. One kick
On the day of his funeral. In case there may be others that would like to read this.

I've never kicked anything before. :kick:
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