I was contacted by an old friend from high school recently who found me through a search on Google. He told me he performed this search after being informed by another classmate of ours that I was writing stories on the internet and, contrary to the news of the day, I am -- in fact -- still alive.

Yep. Still alive. Which is great news, I have to say.

Apparently, there was a rumor going around that, shortly after graduation, I had died. Now, this is shocking news in and of itself. I was quite taken aback by my impromptu obituary, because as far as I have been able to tell, I've been missing out on sweet, sweet release from this mortal coil for the past 9 years or so. But more shocking than the fact that I was supposedly dead was finding out the manner in which I met my demise.

According to rumor -- and I am not kidding here, this is the way by which someone decided to start telling people I had left this mortal coil -- I fell out of the Mind Bender roller coaster at Six Flags over Georgia after removing my safety restraint and standing up in the car while in the middle of a loop-de-loop. I apparently slid past the lap rail and fell several hundred feet, where I died on impact.

I FELL? Out of a fucking ROLLER COASTER? THIS is how I died?

Come the fuck on, man... I mean, yeah, it's amusing, and it definitely sounds like something I'd do (mostly because I had a season pass to Six Flags for a few years while in high school and did this all the freakin' time). But how fair is it to spread rumors about someone that they died on an amusment park ride?

I mean, wouldn't that make the papers? Surely my death would have been at least somewhat newsworthy -- not by virtue of the fact that it was me, but because someone sliding from the car of a roller coaster at Georgia's largest amusement park would have caused the reporters in our area to salivate uncontrollably.


Maybe I AM dead.

Maybe I'm imagining all of this, trying my best to cope with the fact that I'm stuck in some sort of internet-enabled purgatory. And all of the goofy crap that happens to me is just God and the Devil having fun taking turns at the "Joe Dial" all day. That's gotta be it... That's the ONLY explination for the reason people keep coming up to me and singing Hendrix tunes, thinking they're so friggin clever! And that fucking "Hi, My name is Joe, I have a wife and 3 kids and I work in a button factory" song... The mere fact that it exists is proof that I'm at least headed to hell.

Nah. That's silly.

But I will say that I'm flattered that this particular individual was so moved by the news of my persistant mortal state that he felt compelled to email me. You're a good man, Charlie Brown (not his real name, but he knows what it means, and he'll probably hunt me down and kill me now, thus sparking NEW news for people to discuss at the next reunion that, even if I was alive, I wouldn't go to, because reunions exist for the sole purpose of proving to everyone you knew that you aren't nearly as pathetic as they all thought you would be, and I am. So there's no use in going).