The Wages of Senescence
I had an argument a while back with some chap in the community who claimed that he was physically immortal, that all “true” Vampyres were – and that a “sure sign” of this immortality was the fact that he had never suffered any broken bones. That warranted a double-take. When did that happen – and why didn’t I get the memo?
I had mental images of Damon Salvatore from Vampire Diaries and Jessica from True Blood, and then drooled slightly. Then I shook my head to come back to reality – for that is exactly what he was talking about – fantasy and fiction. And yet, he was speaking – with authority – as though it were fact!
He nearly had a heart attack though when I dared to accuse him of roleplaying and fantasy. After all, he was an established figure in the VC, and (according to him) was a person of some standing in the community – and had been for a number of years. Apparently I had just rocked up at the breakfast table around tea time, missed the briefing on Vampyre immortality and didn’t know diddley.
I have nothing against lifestylers and role players, and I’m sure there is plenty of room in our community for them – as long as they don’t pretend to be real Kin in situations where they cause drama for those of us who really are. Many Vampyres have actually found their way to the VC through LARP’s and lifestyling BION, and many real vamps do enjoy some of both from time to time. I can see nothing wrong with that.
BUT if I had to count the number of times I have seen roleplayers and trolls on forums claiming to be “Lord” or “Lady” So-and-so who is “immortal” in a physical sense, or two hundred years old, I would – well, I would probably have as many examples of drama-seeking behavior as when I count people asking, begging, or offering actual money to be turned. But let’s not get sidetracked, shall we?
Many believe in immortality, but since we know all physical bodies perish, wear out and eventually die, we tend to stick to the assumption that the spark of life within us (which Christians call a “soul”) is the thing which is our true selves, and we believe is immortal, going on through one life into the next and the next.
Naturally, the general knowledge that all things die eventually has not put everyone off the search for immortality. Some still believe it can be attained – by science or drinking blood, or by other means, while others scoff and smirk in confidence – waiting to point out the first gray hair, or wrinkle as soon as it appears. They simply “know” it is impossible.
To throw a spanner in the works regarding the “impossibility” of physical immortality, there is a species of cnidria (a small sea creature like a hydra) which exhibits signs of such. Like the bumble bee – which science has determined is far too heavy to fly with the wing surface area nature gifted it with, and which flies anyway – the cnidrians in question probably didn’t get the memo about immortality being impossible and so they just don’t realize that they should die at some point.
Apparently these creatures go back and forth between cellular maturity and immaturity in a continuous cycle, which could span indeterminable periods. It has biologists, and other people who see the world through a microscope, absolutely fascinated. After all, even though this is a fairly basic organism with much fewer cells than a higher animal – and no actual brain (something it has in common with some so-called higher animals) then, if it is possible for one creature to exist this way, then it should be possible to somehow reap the benefits for Humanity, their trophy case – and of course, their bank accounts.
So, immortal? Not in the sense of a fictional vampire, who if shot or stabbed, simply heals literally as if by magic. I think this highlights a glaring hole in the language of fiction v/s reality. In fiction, Vampyres are not simply immortal, but also mostly invulnerable as well. The cnidrian may not age or wear out, but even it will die if squished, and even it needs oxygen, food and water. And it certainly won’t miraculously heal if cut in two, or survive for long if removed from water. But yes, if left unhindered, it could continue to exist indefinitely. At least in theory.
Speaking as a Vampyre, I know I can die if I fall under a bus or catch a nasty disease. I know I need to eat and drink mundane food as well as getting my regular fix from my Donor. I know that holding my breath waiting for “Mr Right” to come will be a fatal exercise – and I don’t think I would enjoy going back and forth between maturity and adolescence much either.
Imagine the stress, the tension, the acne and the squeaky voice every 14 years or so. *shudder*. So are real Vampyres “immortal”? Hmm. Well, I recently turned 27 again for the 12th time, but every woman is entitled to avoid the big four-oh that way – so who knows?
I mean, I haven’t had any broken bones either (amazing really, considering the number of car smashes I’ve survived and the number of people I have pissed off in my time), but at least I don’t go running round bragging that I can’t die. I’m sure I can. I’m just not going to.
Even if just to piss him off.