You get what anybody gets, you get a lifetime.

I came across this statement while browsing a wallpapers thread. Printed on an image of Death of the Endless, one of Neil Gaiman's characters from The Sandman, it struck me as extremely relevant to my recent frame of mind. The implication in the image is that it is a quote from this particular character. As anyone who visits my home node can attest, I am a big fan of quotes, so I wanted a more detailed attribution. A simple Google search produced the following across multiple sites, seemingly based off of a reference at Goodreads:

You get what anybody gets - you get a lifetime.

Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes

Great, I thought, I have those issues somewhere. It is only a matter of flipping through and finding the appropriate panel. But after multiple attempts, both in checking panels with Death as well as Dream, I failed to locate it. Since Wikiquote does a decent job of annotating sources (and disputed attributions) of quotes, I turned there next. No reference to this quote whatsoever. However, a similar one was listed under the section for the Brief Lives storyline. This one is spoken by Death to a man named Bernie, who despite having lived 15,000 years has just had a building fall on him, somewhat inconveniently:

You lived what anybody gets, Bernie. You got a lifetime. No more. No less.

Death, in Sandman #43: "Brief Lives: 3"

While it doesn't quite roll off the tongue as the first version, I prefer it. 15,000 years or 15, the point is if I can read that panel, I am alive. I am. Which is the same as anyone else. Ultimately, I can't get any less, because I have shared this experience of life. And more importantly, I can't get any more (barring certain religious views of reincarnation). Which leaves me with this messy and chaotic and curious experience of living.

So I will live.

Fais ce que tu voudras

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