Sunday, 14 October 2012

A debate

Adjudicator: Welcome ladies and gentleman to this week’s debate. Last week we had a cracker, those of you who were here will remember the battle regarding Arnie’s greatest movie – Kindergarten Cop vs Twins. And tonight promises to be a beauty.

For many of us, life just seems to happen without our having much say in it. We have jobs, we have family, we have social obligations. Our days are full and we don’t seem to have the time to stop and think whether or not things are really taking the direction we want. Could I be doing things differently? Am I happy with my life? These questions may arise sometimes, but do we really address them with the attention they deserve? We feel constrained by external factors and internal fears so that we can’t face up to any major changes that may be needed. And then there’s all that tv to watch.

Well ladies and gentlemen, tonight we have two speakers who have thought about these questions and they will each propound their chosen philosophy for living. A debate entitled: How are we to live? Without further babble from me, I pass you to speaker number one.

Speaker One: Thank you ladies and gentlemen. I am here to speak to you tonight for some few minutes, and I hope to convince you through my humble words that we should live each day as if it were our last

We know that life is precious. I’m sure each of you understands that life goes by fleetingly; the days, weeks and years seem to go by faster and faster all the time with irresistible momentum. Our children are one day babies, going to school the next , and getting married the very next. And though we may feel as if we were young people only yesterday, we look in the mirror and find a grey haired, wrinkle-faced person staring in amazement back at us.  Life is short, ladies and gents. And it is for this very reason that we must seize every opportunity that comes our way. We can’t afford to put off doing those important things with the people we love, we must live as though it were our last day on earth.

Picture yourself, ladies and gentlemen, on your death bed. You are in your final moments, looking back on your life. Your one life. Would you like to be feeling as though you gave it a good tally ho, you lived each day with zest, with gusto, with the thought that you might not have another day? Or would you prefer to be thinking of how you were cautious and put things off until another day and you let fear dictate what you would or would not do with your time?

Live each day as if it were your last. If we truly grasped this concept surely we would be calling our mother to tell her we love her, we would watch the sun go down with the people we care most about. We would make a special dinner and invite all our friends to sit, drink some wine and enjoy healthy food and colourful conversation.  

Not only would our individual lives be more vibrant, but the world would be more harmonious, more joyous and less rapacious than the world we currently find ourselves in. Carpe diem, my friends. Seize the day. We must live each day as if it were our last, because you never know, perhaps it is.

Speaker Two: Thank you to the first speaker for a top speech. You gave it a good shot mate. However, my friends, I am here to tell you tonight that we should definitely not live each day as if it were our last. I’ll show you how stupid that is, and I have a much better plan for you. 

Firstly let’s look closely at the phrase ‘live each day as if it were your last’. Just imagine, my friends, that it was our last day on earth. Let’s say there was a meteor coming to hit the earth tomorrow and kill us all. It’s unavoidable. Even Bruce Willis can’t stop this one.  Ok, are you imagining? Do you think many people would be going to work on this, their last day on earth? I wouldn’t be there. It’s the last day for crying out loud! There’s no tomorrow, so there are no ramifications for our actions. It’s all about instant gratification. There’s no future to plan for. No point in beginning long term projects, no reason to invest energy in helping somebody unless you expect instant results and thanks. Just have fun, get high, get happy right now. Take all your money out of the bank and throw it off a bridge, just to see it fall.

Imagine a world full of people all wildly trying to spend their last twenty four hours going down in a blaze of glory. There’d be looting of liquor stores, shooting, brawling, biting, rooting, nudity in the streets, madness on the roads and fires burning through the night. Sure, there may be a few lovely sunset dinners, but they’d probably be run through by a band of drunken hoodlums who’d steal the chicken drumsticks and stomp on the pavlova.

And imagine planning the perfect evening with your most precious loved one only to find that, seeing as it’s the last day and all, she’s decided she’d rather have a quick fling with your best mate. And your brother.

Then we’d all wake up in the morning. We’d realise the previous day hadn’t in fact been our last, and we’ve now got a choice to make. We could either go about making some apologies, fix the hole in the wall and go back to work. Or we could think, well it wasn’t true for yesterday, but maybe I should live today as if it were my last.

No, I think if we lived each day as if it were our last we’d make such a mess of things that we’d pretty soon be wishing it was.

I propose we should instead live each day as if it were our first. I don’t mean lying around naked, screaming and kicking my legs around like I did as a baby on my first day on earth. I mean that we could stop acting so damn clever like we know it all, like we've seen it all before. Instead we could take a leaf out of the kids' book and keep on looking at the world with wide-eyed innocence, with wonder and excitement. Glowing as the sun warms my face as if I’ve never felt such a thing before. Fully appreciating that first bite of a crunchy apple, smiling at a stranger on the street, feeling the wind in my hair at a cliff-top lookout, listening to smooth chords strummed as though for the first time. Live like it's your very first day. 

There are plenty of things in this old world of ours that can really blow your mind, if you just stop and think. You know there are. You can look at nature. Listen to the stories of people around you. There’s art, there’s literature, there’s music. There’s a world of amazement, we just need to open our eyes to it. And if I’m in that kind of head space, then I’m going to be more able to help other people which I reckon is what it’s all about really.

Speaker One: Thank you to Speaker Two for your, ahem, original insights. Let me ask you though, seeing as you have attacked my theory for the fact that people wouldn’t be going to work. Let me ask you compadre, if it were your first day on earth, would you indeed be going to work? Or would you be walking round all goggle-eyed staring at apples, waving your hair in the breeze like a demented Pantene girl, gawking at strangers, and gazing in wonderment at the stripes on a zebra crossing until you get run down by a truck?
Your theory would lead to a world full of drooling weirdos, I’m sorry to say it.

Speaker Two: Better drooling weirdos than rampant rapists.

Speaker One: What about Robin Williams eh? Captain My Captain!

Speaker Two: Oh right, let’s all stand on our desks, like that makes for a good’s written somewhere that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

Speaker One: What by golly do you even mean by that? Keep up this nonsense and I’ll see to it that  this is your last day mister!

Speaker Two: With that attitude you won't last mate!

Adjudicator: errrm haha, thank you indeed to our two speakers. Yes, a fierce competition tonight. How are we to live? And as I look at the tallied scores, I have found in fact it was a tie! A dead heat. My oh my. So how do we resolve this? Well, I’ve listened closely to both your arguments, and humble adjudicator though I may be, I have come up with my own theory which I believe takes the good points from both your proposals, and here it is...

We should live each day.


  1. Loved reading this, thanks steve :)

  2. Hey Steve
    You get better and better! Loved this! Rooly great!