Life and the ‘Dash’

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I engraved a gravestone once. It was easy. Dictating somebody’s entire existence on a block of bricks covered with a layer of white cement. Someone handed me a rusty four-inch nail and instructed me to write what was on the pamphlet in his hand. The pamphlets were ill printed with misspellings that could raise the dead. The dude didn’t wake up…I suppose you can’t really care about spellings when you are six feet into the ground. I was shaking. I couldn’t even fit all his three names on the gravestone so the gravestone fixer, swaying from the effects of the local brew, had to spread another layer of wet cement to correct my mistakes. I imagined, after kicking it on this galactic orb for close to forty years, a rusty nail is used to explain the only indelible details about yourself after you kick the bucket? A rusty nail for fuck’s sake! Your name, blah, initial, blah. Your date of birth, a dash, your date of departure, death…  and that’s it. Nobody gives a hoot about what you had going on where the dash sits. I believe the dash is the most important part of a gravestone engraving. That is why I decided to write a book, a few blogs, a few videos in the future maybe, a couple of websites…you know… my dash.  This is not my book. This is just a contemplation of what entitles a person like me to be remembered and respected even after my expiry date. Well… respect is relative, but memory is imperative. Lately, I’ve been trying to distinguish between responsibility and achievement. Building or buying a house is an achievement, isn’t it? It’s also a responsibility, isn’t it? No one is going to remember you forever based on the fact that you provided shelter for your family because it’s a natural human instinct. People do that every day. I’d really hate to have two dates and a dash on my gravestone and nothing else. If I croaked tomorrow, I’d settle for something simple like, “Published some incomplete blogs on the internet that no one seems to read”. I can ‘live’ with that. And inspire a sense of humor at my funeral.

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