The Math

We knew my dad was dying years before he passed away. He was scuba diving in Honduras in hopes of seeing whale sharks and had some heart issues. His body was failing him. He loved scuba diving more than anything. I always thought it was a tragedy that he didn’t see the whale sharks and never dove again.

Eventually, he had to go on dialysis, and at one point, he once hinted at me finding out if I could donate a kidney. He never really asked, but my wife was pregnant, and with my son on my way, I had instantly made a lot of cold, hard calculations. My answer would have been a resounding “no.”

You see, it wasn’t that I didn’t care for my dad; my life (and all surplus organs) were already spoken for. If this little boy needed them, they would be there for him. 

Would I choose to skydive? An unnecessary risk, perhaps when my son is grown. 

My house is burning, and I can only save one person or thing. It’s my son. Easy choice.

If I took a bullet to save my mom, it might be one less bullet I could take for my son, so no, that wouldn’t happen either.

Train bearing down on my wife or son, and I have the lever to switch the track. You bet it would be my son that makes it. If the role was reversed and it was myself and my son on the split track, I would hope that train would hit me. If my wife was spared at the expense of our child, I’m sure she would never forgive me. And it would be the same for me.

Deep within the ocean, a mother octopus will take up to 10 months for her eggs to develop. She won’t take nourishment; all her energy goes to keeping her young from harm. And typically die in the process.

Certain insects, arachnids, and amphibians will allow their young to feed off them. Quite literally eating them alive in a process called matriphagy.

Doing the math and knowing my priorities beforehand makes my decision process a no-brainer. The older generation taking resources from the younger generation has not made sense to me. They are superfluous. This logic rings truer now that I am part of the older crowd.

My dad passed away a few days after my son was born. The joy of having a baby and almost immediately losing my father was bittersweet. I always felt like my dad hung on just to see my son into the world. While I would have loved to see them spend more time together, I was always glad he could hold him before he went. 

I like to think my dad knew my heart was in the right place.

By Sam Watson

I'm pretty good at Microsoft Excel but a freak in Google Sheets.

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