I am writing my morning pages and find myself in a meditation on death.
Looking at the date, I realize it’s my Dad, John Ryan’s, birthday, or- it was his birthday when he was alive. I don’t think you have a birthday after you die- the date stops being relevant to you. It is, perhaps, the anniversary of your birth- but Mozart doesn’t have a 263rd birthday.
Where We Came From
My father was born Sept 9, 1948, to his mother, Ruth Ryan, who is now dead. His father, Robert Sloan Ryan, was present at the birth, and is also dead. The doctor and the nurses who attended the birth are all dead. The maintenance workers at the hospital are dead, the policemen walking the streets of Houston, TX the day my Dad was born are dead, the mothers and fathers of the other babies born that day are all dead, some of the babies born that day are also dead.
Every singer who was on the radio that day is dead. The number one hit song that day was the 12th Street Rag, by Pee Wee Hunt and his Orchestra. Pee Wee Hunt is dead and all the members of the orchestra are dead.
The Oscar winner for Best Picture that year was Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet. All the actors in the film are dead, the most recent being Jean Simmons, who died in 2010, three years before my Dad.
The stars of the most popular TV shows of the day, Ed Sullivan, Howdy Doody, and Candid Camera are all dead. Most of the people who watched those shows are dead. Everyone who worked writing or shooting those shows is dead.
Where We Are Going
One day, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian and PewDiePie and Shane Gillis and David Duchovny and Taylor Swift and Lin-Manuel Miranda will all be dead, and everyone you’ve ever known or looked up to or hated or had a crush on or wronged or bought dinner for will be dead.
It’ll happen so quickly you won’t believe it, sweeping unapologetically through the population and leaving you wondering what it was all for, all the striving and the cutting each other down and the aspirations and the heartbreak and denying ourselves frosty Frappuccinos in the Summer.
Nobody will remember your failed Etsy business, the time you threw up at Homecoming, or the time Patton Oswalt retweeted you. If you’re lucky, 100 years after your death your descendants will remember your name. So, yes. I am having another Frappuccino.