This past summer I printed out the meme that appears above this post and hung it on my office wall. Taped to my laptop is a post-it that reads “Note to self: stop wasting time on the internet; you’re going to die.” For years I have considered getting the words “memento mori” (latin for “remember that you’ll die”) tattooed on my wrist.
Why do I do these things? I am not Raskolnikov or Camus’ Meursault, condemned to execution, locked up in a cell all day with nothing to do but contemplate my impending fate. Nor do I suffer from morbid curiosity à la Harold and Maude. In fact, I would not say that I am any more concerned with death than those around me. It’s just that I am more open about it.
Dying is like Facebook stalking or peeing in the shower; one of those things we all do but don’t talk about. This is to say that there is a strange taboo surrounding death. It’s odd or inappropriate to bring up except in the most personal, and if I dare say, honest, conversations. It’s like we all want to believe that somehow not talking about it will counteract its certainty.
But this of course is not the case…Whether we talk about it or not, “eventually we all die, and it doesn’t matter what our pubes were doing on Earth.” So rather than ignore it we ought try to come to some understanding of it–and that is exactly what I aim to do on this blog. Art has helped me make sense of so many things in my life, so it seems only appropriate that now I turn to it to help me make sense of my death.