I wanna die with my work boots on.

Written by Cole Schafer

This was years ago, back when my grandfather smoked so many cigarettes he looked incomplete without one dangling from his mouth. He drove an old Dodge Dakota that just stunk of nicotine. I'd plop down on the bench seat of that truck and the air would suddenly smell like someone had spritzed the cabin with a generous dowsing of Pall Mall scented Frebreze (if there were such a thing).

Scared to death his habit would dirty the lungs of his grandson, he never smoked when I was in the car––and when he lit up outdoors, he'd shoo me away like he had come down with tuberculosis. "Don't follow my example", he'd shout across the driveway in-between pulls of tobacco, his potbelly hanging over his Levi's, his arms as strong as tire irons.

One day he nicked himself good and deep with a box-cutter and the blood came spilling out of him like it had banged against his veins all its life to be set free, a side-effect of all the nitrates he took after his four stents. "Don't follow my example", he said as he grabbed a roll of duct tape, rolled it around his finger until there was no more finger and got right back to work. He'd rather work himself to death than turn and face the pain.

But, death hasn't come. The cigarettes haven't done it. The heart-attack hasn't done it. The stroke hasn't done it. He's impossible to kill. He's one of those men that will have to choose to die. Several months back, I visited him in his little house in Indiana and I found him sitting on a 5 gallon bucket, washing the rocks in his landscaping. Who the fuck washes the rocks in their landscaping? I adore him.