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Rant #475
(published February 25, 2010)
Javelina Death Rap
by Bob Wallass

I hit a javelina the other night. It bunged up the front of my car and, worse, died in the exchange. Sad. Its death was a suicide, really, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it.

That's what I keep telling myself.

I'm an animal lover and have spent a good deal of time feeling bad for the javelina. The incident also made me think: what if things had been reversed? What if the javelina had been driving and hit me? Sure, we all go when it's our time, and I'm okay with that, but this is different.

You see (and I hate to admit this) I had a Terrance Trent D'Arby CD in the player. Not his first one with the funky-soulful tunes. This was his second: Symphony or Damn.

My appraisal: Damn.

The disc sucks. I found it in a shoebox full of random discs intended for trade-in and skimmed the songs to see if anything deserved saving. Nothing did, so I guess it merited the trade-in box status.

That doesn't much matter, though. What does matter is that, at the moment I hit the javelina, I had a lame CD playing in my stereo. Had we swapped roles I'd be the one taking eternal dirt nap and my final opus would have been "Welcome To My Monasteryo" or something equally regrettable.

What's worse is that not only would that have been the last song I listened to in this lifetime, but someone writing my obituary might have found reason to mention it as such. Ugh! Adding insult to injury (or public humiliation to not-livingness), someone might have found it appropriate to play my last song at my wake.

Gasp . . . choke . . . gag!

I don't claim to know the details of the afterlife, however, assuming my hearing was intact, I don't know if I could handle the indignation. Lying in the relatively inexpensive-but-not-quite-bottom-line casket that I'm fairly certain my wife would pick out, I would have the dubious distinction of being the first person to commit suicide just days after being killed by a homicidal javelina.

(I do not know that you can commit suicide in the afterlife. And, in an afterlife afterthought, I don't know that D'Arby's music would push me to such extremes. I mean, it's not like it was Michael Bolton or anything.)

So what's a guy to do?

You never know when you might get into an accident. Should I only listen to my top-shelf all-time-favorites when driving? Maybe so. But what if I'm not in a car? I could contract a rare disease or be hit by a meteorite while sitting at home in the cushy comforts of my favorite chair. Possibly I need to be more careful about what I listen to at all times.

I've decided that the only sane thing to do is to write my own obituary. Here's what I've come up with so far:


Bob Wallass, a good guy and lover of quality music, died on (insert date here). He will be missed by friends and family and will always miss the music of his lifetime.

Bob died of (insert rare disease or freak accident here) and made the (expected/unexpected) journey while enjoying some fine tunes. Bob had impeccable taste in music and listened with an unbiased ear.

At the time of his death, his six-disc changer contained the following CDs in no specific order: Rolling Stones, "Exile on Main Street," Whiskeytown, "Stranger's Almanac," Replacements, "Let It Be," Coltrane, "Meditations," The Clash, "London Calling," and the Aunt Bettys' self-titled disc. The player was set on random, so any or all songs from the above could be the last song Bob heard, just as he would have wanted.

Bob is survived by his financially practical wife, and blah-blah-blah . . .


That's as far as I've gotten. I like the eclectic mix of music I chose, however the final lineup is yet to be seen. I mean, no Chris Whitley? No Bob Marley? Come on . . .

In case the obit isn't found in a timely manner, I've decided to make a compilation CD fit for the occasion of my demise. I dubbed it "Bob's Dead Disc." However, I don't want it confused for a Jerry Garcia compilation, so I've changed it to "Favorite Disc Ever."

These are not songs that are generally associated with a person's final breath. They're an impartial sampling of songs I'd be proud to be listening at any moment of my life. Also, they are just non-mainstream enough to make me seem hip and cool when a person reflects upon my life and lack there of.

It is sad to only listen to time-tested sure things and never give another new band a try, but it's not worth the eternal repercussions, and I'm not taking any chances.

I keep the disc nearby and am reassured to think that, if I contract a lethal case of trimethylaminuria, I'll have plenty of time to throw my end game concerto into the CD player. Or, through a stroke of luck, the distinctive whistling sound will alert me to the meteorite plummeting to Earth and I'll have just enough warning to push play before signing an eternal lease on a basement apartment.

I realize these are merely wishful thoughts which can't be counted upon, but they give me hope.

Although the CD is undoubtedly the best mix-disc I've ever compiled, it does pose a problem. I'm not superstitious, but it feels as if I'm promoting my own premature death by playing the music in advance. Like canceling my subscription to Life, or buying a raffle ticket for a vacation with the worms—it's tempting the fates. Sure, it's a good feeling knowing that if I die in the next hour and twenty minutes I will go out listening to one of the best songs ever, but it isn't my goal to not be breathing 81 minutes from now.

Due to this conundrum, the compilation is now my "Least Favorite Disc Ever." In fact, I don't like hearing any of the songs or artists from the collection played anywhere under any circumstance. I try to avoid them completely. It's amazing the depth and quality of the music that I now wish to never listen to again. That is, unless I'm actively dying.

In New Zealand, the Maori believe that the spirit hangs around the body for three days after your heart spittles out its final lub-dub. This is encouraging. I could keep my "Most/Least Favorite Disc Ever" with the obituary I wrote, and add explicit instructions to play it in its entirety as soon as I sell the farm.

This seems like a fairly foolproof plan except that I am not a Maori tribesman. Therefore, I have a hard time accepting it as a valid solution.

What to do?

At present, the tally reveals one deceased javelina and a compilation of my favorite songs and artists that are as good as dead to me.

As for me, I'm still kickin' and I guess I'll have to live with that.

For now, anyway.

Bob Wallass says, "This piece is a true story and not one that I'm proud of." Wallass lives in Sedona, AZ where javelinas are plentiful. He notes, "I should point out that javelinas look like wild pigs but are of the peccary family, whatever that is. They run funny and never cease to make me laugh—their butts are just too small for their bodies—but you don't want to mess with one up close."

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