It is not, by far, the most appealing of subjects, but I invite you to imagine the following: Owing to sickness, crime, or just to the fact that time has worn away the telomeres in your chromosomes, PAF! The day you die arrives.
In remote times, before people thought about living in communities –and thus before the first spat between neighbors erupted– scavengers would probably have gone right to doing their job on you. They would have gradually eaten skin, muscles, viscera and other munchies until they left your bones bare. And that would have been it: a sad but ecofriendly, and free process.
Nevertheless, unless you happen to die under very unusual conditions, our overpopulated habitat guarantees that someone will find your dead body. Dear reader, will death meet you ready for that moment when people will rummage through the objects you left behind and see — in maybe embarrassing detail– who you were in life?
If you are not a hard-core cynic who says: “Me, bother? I’ll be dead anyway”, make a list and spruce up: Are your drawers clean? Do you keep one of those mags that will give your family and friends hours of after-dinner conversation and laughs over your soiled reputation? If you had a pet who now discovers that after all you weren’t its “forever” human, who will take care of the critter?
Just by the number of “+55 restricted communities” I see in Florida, I venture the educated guess that many come to retire –from work and eventually from life, as all things go. So there is a flurry of Estate Sales, which I find are like garage sales, except that almost everything that was part of a life is put on sale (even used toothbrushes).
I attended such an Estate Sale and went through closets and pantries as respectfully as I could. Then it caught my eye. Lying on the floor beside a Harvard degree was a portrait of a couple.
Synapses connected: they had the slightly discomfited look of the portrait found in Pompeii of the man and wife who I believe were caught by sudden death. Their likeness had been painted between the years 70 and 79… right before Mount Vesuvius exploded.
But I want to end this post on a lighter note. Driving along highway 19 I found this sound advice (and a jewel of advertising):