Death is a funny thing – it can come any time, strike rather arbitrarily, and leave us flummoxed by its suddenness.
Although we are a species desperately hell-bent on trying to cheat Death itself, we might have met our match – Death has not allowed itself to be prostrated, subjugated or controlled as per our whims, fancies and follies. But as a sweet consolation prize, humans have found a way to cheat Death’s abruptness at least, through our countless ways of extensively documenting our rather mundane and ordinary lives – through the digital medium, we are now coloring it with the elaborate exuberance, pomp and personalized authenticity only reserved for the mighty kings of medieval times. Every one can and is being now immortalized as a few kilobytes of 0’s and 1’s stored in some server in Florida, Sweden or elsewhere. Perhaps, Binary is the Great Leveler!
All of which brings us to the question – What does it mean to make our last statements now or leave a snapshot of our last sensation or experience? Since I rarely interface physically/in-the-real-world with my fellow humans, and instead abundantly air my views and opinions, broadcast my “likes” (well not quite “dislikes”), and in general spend an inordinate amount of time in the so-called “Virtual World” – it follows to mathematical reason and calculation of probabilistic odds, that the last time-space-consciousness snapshot of my life in its final moments – will perhaps be most evident in the online world through various of my digital avatars. And so I suspect might be the same for a lot of human folks, including prospective readers and stumblers of this blog. And so, ladies, gentlemen, the N.S.A., and Aliens intercepting this infinitesimal slice of the cacophonous Blogosphere, I present for your consideration my conjectures on what various Digital Formats might reveal about the last precious seconds of your life. I like to call them “The Last Foot-In-The-Mouth-Prints on Your Digital Grave”…
- Last “Like”/”Share” (Facebook) – A supposed indication of what tickled you, inspired you or provoked your thoughts, but what most likely just moved you away from the mind-numbing plateaus of day-to-day boredom into the smallest of hillocks of fleeting sensation/liking. A “like” in the incipient stages of Social Networking started off with the force of genuine emotion behind it, but is now no more analogous to a real-life semi-nod of polite acknowledgement thrown by far-off-acquaintances passing each other on the road, a barely perceptible involuntary reflex-action devoid of any conscious input. Also, guys who passed away almost immediately after liking a picture of an Actress/Model on Facebook, will be considered as the latest victims of the “Femme-Fatale” effect, succumbing fatally to the Hotness exuded due to Local-Warming, and the Hot Babe in question, by virtue of her fatal spell-binding hypnosis of her fans, will be christened as the “Black-Widow Spider”. For the rest, my feeble mind can’t seem to produce a similar sufficiently lame/witty/esoteric faux correlation. Suggestions are of course welcome!
- Last Status Message (Facebook) – If you are lucky, this might be some Pseudo-Original thought emanating from your Alive but sadly Unconscious Brain. If you are particularly blessed, in the moments leading up to your demise, you might have that rare spark of brilliant epiphany, spawning a few fleeting moments of clarity, a rare instance where originality and insight is combined lucidly by your mediocre hair-brained mind – before of course your body, mind and soul depart on it’s one-way journey into the oblivion of non-existent emptiness (or if it makes it easier to digest, some soothing placebo-version of an after-life). Our thoughts and prayers, especially to those whose last so-called “organized-thoughts” on Facebook was neither lucky nor blessed, but indeed cursed into an abyss of oblivion littered with frivolous banalities and insipid reportage of one’s mundane non-happenings.
- Last Tweet (Twitter) – The Last Inane, Lame, Hyper-Condensed thought you will ever utter into a 160 character textbox – typically characterized broadly as: (1) Gushing Rave, (2) Angry/Social Rant, (3) Mirthless Punchlines. People with something substantial to say before they perish will in all likelihood not be articulating eloquence verbatim on Twitter. So it might be safe to assume that most last Tweets will be as forgettable and indeed forgotten as most Tweets themselves. Either which ways, all our collective hearts bleed out to those whose last Tweet concerned some lame wisecracking about the latest trending Hashtag like #YOLO or #Selfie. Talk about an anti-climatic, goofy and awkward final exit – like a badly scripted series finale or an ill-timed off-the-cuff remark before the curtains close.
- Last Seen At (WhatsApp) – The Most Recent Time of your Aliveness. Time-stamp confirming your last online presence on WhatsApp, when you were still alive and presumably responding well to the scores of utterly useless but entertaining pings/forwards of jokes, memes, images and friendly banter by your circle of buddies. Acquaintances (read: ping-stalkers) will mournfully rue the moment where you became The Departed, never to respond to their pings (as if you ever did to begin with), and they shall wistfully stare at the “Last-Seen-At” time-stamp with expectant anticipation of “hehe” or “haha” or “lol” or *wink-smiley* or other such forms of acknowledgement to their inane ramblings or their wide gamut of ping-stalking-strategies.
- Last Photograph Upload (Facebook/Instagram) – The last visual snapshot you ever saw, no doubt accentuated (read: morphed entirely) with a liberal dose of heavy post-processing effects, including application of elaborate filtering algorithms – all this made possible by “Dumb-Blonde” user-interfaces, encouraging even the most appalling of photographers to upload and “refine” their lame creations with robotic precision and automated aesthetics. Also worth mentioning is the accompanying caption – which while not automated by Robots/AI Software, almost passes off as such due to it’s author’s monochromatic propensity to exaggerate and extol the virtues of the photograph with either the most cringe-worthy of cliches, or the most contrived “witty” phrase. If you are one of the sane non-conformists with individual aesthetic sensibilities left on this planet, then perhaps we will miss your photographs as much as your life. For the rest, I am afraid we can’t say the same – In fact for the rest, sayonaara into the Insta-Dustbin of Photo-Hell-Oblivion!
- Last Check-In (Facebook/FourSquare) – The last geo-spatial location on the planet’s surface where the last visual sighting of your alive self was self-reported by you in a narcissistic attempt to broadcast your trips/adventures with an intent to both inspire envy in others, as well as soothe one’s ego by gaining popularity through “likes” – this action again inspired more often by envy rather than genuine affinity. Also worth noting is the presence of several other “co-adventurers” in the form of a list of “Tagged With” people, who are dragged into your invitation to the entire world to come bask in your clique’s glory from half-a-world-away. To the indiscriminate obsessive compulsive “Dunston-Checks-In” folks, we raise a goblet in thou name, dunking our spirits with some succulent wine, expressing the relief, gratitude and thanks on behalf of the world at large, that we are now finally spared of thou boastful pride of your exaggerated spatial adventures. We are also gleefully secure in our knowledge that you may not be resting in peace in your new abode (whichever mystical place that might be), since you are itching but unable to update your location via the quintessential Check-In.
Can think of more? Any suggestions? Feel free to leave your versions in Comments. And yes, admittedly I am guilty of some permutation and combination of the lameness I have satirized so cynically and mercilessly above. I am a human after all, and hence prone to hypocrisy! 😛 🙂
PS: For those of you now concerned about their Digital Footprint or wishing to know more about their Post-Death Digital Presence, some articles for your reference …
- How to Disappear from the Web Forever @LifeHacker
- Deceased Person’s Account Memorialization @Facebook’s Official Explanation
- Social Networking Death @HowStuffWorks
- Virtual Life After Death @LifeHacker