“Here lies a salty bastard.”
“Here lies a saint.”
“Here lies a damn liar!” Fitting!
How would you like to be remembered? What would you like those who have a say in the matter to inscribe of your tombstone? Not to say that you’re plans aren’t to be cremated and strewn about the globe, headstone free, but please, go with me on this slightly morbid journey if you will.
This world is rich with people who naturally behave in a thoughtful, loving way toward others. This same world is also replete with people who if called out might have a hard time justifying some or much of their behavior to a jury. Sadly, I fall in with the latter category. I’m no Joseph Stalin, but I have my bad days.
I’ve often thought about a scenario wherein our lives are constantly recorded on video and available for public review and judgment. Oh, how our behavior might change if every action was up for scrutiny, evaluation, and infinite replay? I started pondering this circumstance long before the advent of social media mind you. The difference being that we wouldn’t have the option of posting only content featuring our “best selves.”
We’ve all seen the gal showing off what she’s got on Instagram. Bless her by the way. We’ve seen the cat-poster post posters and have also had to endure the politics-troll assholes. They all have their platform for self-expression and/or self-aggrandizement, which is fine I suppose. However, not one of them, or more accurately, not one of us, have to expose any truth deemed unflattering because we, of course, are our own censors. This arrangement is great for the “self-image,” but is it good for the “self?” Accountability, thanks to the one-way mirror of social media, seems to be on the ropes in these modern times. For most of us, the whole truth isn’t usually “runway ready” so we omit the bits that don’t flatter us. Me too, guilty! The first seven drafts of this post were a shit show. I was not about to unveil that incomprehensible crap to the world! Frankly, the jury is still out about this version but my self-imposed deadline wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.
The words used for an epitaph, if true and heartfelt, bear witness to the whole, uncensored life-print left by the dearly departed. What is our legacy? How do we touch the world? Now, answer that question again discounting any “touch” involving social media. Interesting, no?
I’m not fond of the idea of being caught in the act of being me twenty-four-seven. Do I want the world watching me while I lose my temper, ghost some woman I’ve met on tinder, or expel the results of a stomach bug in my not so recently cleaned bathroom? Not at fucking all! Do I think we should submit to the control of a “watcher regime” that exposes our every act to society for judgment? In no way, shape or form. Do I believe the world would be a better place if we all imagined ourselves being observed, and therefore felt compelled to take just a tiny moment to consider the outcome of our behavior before we let loose? Hell yeah I do!
Our every earthly action leads logically to our last, after which we are but a memory. Some believe in a judgment day. Some believe it is their job to judge others. Perhaps if we focus appropriate, (read: “a lot of”) attention on accessing and adjusting our own actions before they are unleashed, we could spare both the almighty and the armchair critics a load of work.
Though I wouldn’t complain about, “Here lies a salty bastard” as an epitaph, in fact, I would get a good posthumous kick out of it. I would hope that those words might be followed by something to the effect of, “who did his best to love well, to make the world a tiny bit less hateful and who will be missed.” How would you like your epitaph to read?