Write Your Obituary
It is an honor and privilege to write R.F’s obituary from the Other Side, seeing as I myself am the entity formerly known as R.F. It’s the year 2073 and such things are possible.
In the olden days, after you kicked the bucket, other people – freelancers – looked over the life you had lived and decided which parts of it to string together in order to create the most flattering summary of your life. As you can imagine, it was a hit and miss, not to mention grossly unfair. Sure, some people took the initiative to write their own obituaries prehumously, but these were often just done as writing exercises or blogging challenges. Another fun pastime of early humans was to write their epitaphs. However, as with humankind’s wishes while alive, their post-death wishes were rarely fulfilled. The result was that there was not single citizen of the Afterlife who was satisfied with the obituaries or epitaphs that got assigned to them by their former Earthmates.
Thankfully, us Afterlifers decided to take matters into our own hands and started submitting self-written obituaries. For once, our technologies synced up and our iCloud 26 was perfectly matched with your iPhone 14. Still, it’s hard to get the epitaphs we want. In the time it takes us to go through Afterlife Processing (which, by the by, makes the INS and the CIC look like subway ticket booths), you people have already slapped Loving wife, sister and mother, Loving husband, son and brother or some such nonsense on the tombstone. Really, what’s your rush? Even pigeons aren’t so quick to pigeonhole. All in all, though, we’ve come a long way. Nowadays, there’s no guesswork involved. Anybody can report back from beyond the finish line and be remembered exactly how he or she wants to be remembered. The person who lived it gets to make the final judgement on how life turned out. And if, every now and then, an Afterlifer submits a completely blank page, please don’t freak out. We know what we’re doing and one non-day it will all make sense to you too.
Why am I telling you all this? You already know about how the system works. Well, it’s because I would be one of those blank-page submitters. I spent my life churning out words and, as joyous as it was, the last thing I want to do is draft, redraft, reredraft, rereredraft, edit, rewrite, throw out, draft again my own obituary. I can’t even work up the energy for an epitaph. That’s why I filled up half a page with redundant info, I felt bad submitting a blank page to you because, as I said, I know how it makes you kind of dizzy. I didn’t like the whole idea of writing my own obituary back then when I was still alive and it was fashionable, and I don’t like it now that I am dead and it is normal. I remember exactly what my reaction was when I came across that topic – “Write Your Own Obituary” – back in 2012. I said “No thanks!” To me, it was along the same lines as “Write a Letter to Yourself in 20 Years” or the slightly less intolerable “Write a Letter to Your 14-Year Old Self”. The latter I can somewhat understand. You have the benefit of hindsight and the wisdom of age and whatnot. But as a whole I found/find writing prompts of this nature annoying. As my pops used to say, in life you will never know whether any of what happens is really good or bad, regardless of how it felt at the time, or even for decades after. The only time you find out whether it was for good or bad is when it’s all over, after the cause-effect chain stops for good.
The big laugh, the LMFAOROTFF, is that once you’re out in the “parking lot” so to speak, once you know the final verdict about the quality of life you lived, you have absolutely zero use for the information. Even if you’re culturally programmed to reincarnate, you won’t remember any of it. You will spend your life doing the predictable: clinging to the good, hauling ass from the bad and wondering about that funny sense you get in your sleep that they’re the same thing.
Therefore, in conclusion and addendum, I know something you don’t know and it’s really really funny.