In 1992, I was born at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a baby, I thought I was going to live forever. Little did I know. By the time I could talk, I had heard you needed a secret handshake to skip the grave. Easy enough.
But I forget how it goes. It’s a shame really, because if I could remember, I’d still be golden. All my anxieties would go away. I could spend my time hoping other people would find out about the handshake. I could teach them. “It’s simple,” I would say. “As long as you know how it goes.”
Being uninformed is the worst. Like, do you ever go to a friend’s house and they ask you about some current political issue and you don’t have the slightest clue what the words coming out of their mouth mean? Imagine having that feeling right at the moment that time freezes before you die and you don’t know the handshake. Terrifying.
I asked some of my friends if they still knew the handshake. Most of them have forgotten too. Some of my other friends try to remind me when I see them, but the way they explain it doesn’t ring true. Not like it used to. I hope they know what they’re talking about. I hope it works for them. When time freezes and the pressure is on, I hope they’re not uninformed.
Because dying is for the uninformed. And right now that’s me.
One time, a guy on the street tried to do the handshake with me. For a second, I thought I had found my luck, but he got mad when he realized I didn’t know how to do it. He started to explain it, but he was yelling and I got scared and ran away.
Judging by what I can tell, there are a lot of uninformed people in this world. When I was a baby, I was not one of them. I used to be scared for all these people, wandering around smiling, not prepared for the big moment. I was less understanding then, when I was a baby. I used to shake my head and kick a rock. The handshake was not that hard. If a baby could do it, could know it and memorize it and use muscle memory to do it blindfolded, why were all these poor souls acting like it was so impossible to figure out?
Now, I get that it’s more complicated sometimes. Maybe no one ever told you about the handshake. Maybe you heard about it but the person who told you also slapped you across the face and made your ear bleed one time when they were drunk and you dropped the potato salad on the floor. Maybe you don’t have hands.
I’m a little worried about being so uninformed.
Gnosis is a strange and unruly thing.
Truly unfair, I think. But I don’t make the rules.