What do you want your tombstone to say?
Well, I don’t intend to die, so this is an irrelevant question. I haven’t quite determined how to become immortal yet, but I will. I figure, eventually, if my luck holds, I’ll run across a genie lamp, a fountain of youth, a portrait of myself that ages instead of me or a sparkly vampire.
However, for the sake of argument, say I don’t actually manage to become immortal somehow, I don’t envision a tombstone. If I die, I want a Viking funeral. For those of you unfamiliar with ancient Nordic burial rites, one version goes a little something like this: built a boat or a raft, put a pyre on top of said raft, place dearly departed on top of pyre, push raft out to sea as the sun is setting, shoot flaming arrows at vessel until the whole thing is ablaze, watch your loved one drift out into the open ocean in a blaze of glory backed by the setting sun, get drunk and celebrate the life lost. That sounds like an awesome way to go to me. I’m not sure it’s legal though. Most likely, California has some laws about unlicensed vessels carrying dead bodies floating out to sea as they are on fire. I don’t know, but it seems like something the Republic of California would frown upon. Stupid, un-fun laws…grumble grumble.
Alright, say that I don’t find a way to become immortal and the republic of California denies me my ancestral rites to be buried as I choose, I’d like to be cremated, after all of my usable organs are given to others, of course. Put me in a Folgers can and spread me into the wind. It’s inevitable that I will turn into something else anyway, like some dirt. Part of me might get spread on the ground where a weed might grow. That weed might get eaten by a goat who then is eaten by a giant carnivorous cow. The giant carnivorous cow would poop me out, and on me might grow a mushroom, which is a living fungus. So, when I die, I shall eventually become a mushroom. Turning into a mushroom pooped out by a giant carnivorous cow is no way to go through life, son.
Anyway, now I’ve lost track. What was I talking about? Oh, yes, tombstones. Say that I don’t become immortal, I don’t get a Viking funeral and someone decides to bury me instead of cremating me, clearly against my wishes, what would I want on my tombstone?
For starters, my name and lifespan would probably be pertinent information: “Here lies Goldfish who died at the age of 3024 years.” Then, I suppose we should add something about who I was and what I did: “Writer of nonsense, drawer of cartoon fish, creator of a billion giggles, chuckles and guffaws, a true friend to many, an inspiration to some, her legacy will live on forever.”
Hm, that’s a lot of words. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure how many words can fit on a tombstone. I’ve never given much thought to the subject. OK then. Let’s make it short and sweet: “Goldfish, born, died, lived well.”