Woody Allen is not everybody’s cuppa tea but his well-worn wisecrack about death will long outlive him. No, Mr Allen, God will not make an exception for you. You and I will both croak within a decade, max. (I know – your name is Woody). No one born in the year my father was – 1900 – is alive today. Jeanne Calment broke the record some years ago, but even she cashed in her chips at 122. My Dad died when he was 84 -my present age … I once joked about outliving Mlle Calment, promising on my 64th birthday that I would live another 64. If I make it for another six, I figure that four score and ten, the Bard’s limit, would be exceptional enough. Not sure I would want to live much longer. I just hope I can keep all my marbles till then.
Some dreamers believe that the repeated engineered postponing of death, mistakenly identified with immortality, is just around the corner. Artificial Intelligence is going to change radically the way we live, and may one day even allow us to delay natural death indefinitely. Even then our mortal coil will remain just that, vulnerable to a stray bullet, a lightning bolt or a truck full of vinegar. We will do what we can to avoid the ultimately inevitable and make our final years as comfortable as possible. But we have no illusions about the Grim Reaper in whatever guise he may appear. Many do have illusions about what happens after we die. With luck, a funeral. That’s all, folks, The End, and there ain’t no more.
You know what brightens my day when I think of all this ? Pretty soon, people reading this page may be doing so, not realizing that its author is dead. “Scripta manent, verba volant”. The words you are reading will outlast the bloke who wrote them. That is the only life after death that anyone could hope for. Charles Dickens died years ago and doesn’t have a clue that people are still reading his novels and that total strangers are getting his royalties.
So, my friends and faithful readers, “Carpe diem !”. I hope your life will be as interesting and as satisfying as mine has been. May I say “Au revoir” ? No. “A-Dieu” ? “God be with ye” (“Goodbye”) ? Not only would that would that be wishful thinking but a contradiction of all that I have been saying in this blog from the gitgo. At the end of the day when we stop moving forward, you and I have nothing to hope for, nothing to fear. We won’t even know we’re dead.