Who Died Today?
For some reason, I always go straight to the obituaries when I'm reading the newspaper. Now, I'm not saying that it is the most interesting section that you can read in a Sunday morning, when you have nothing to do while drinking your coffee. There are definitely more fascinating subjects such as that car crash in which the guy barely made it, even if he got both his lungs destroyed. Or how about that football game in which a particular team destroyed another particular team by a particular amount of points.
I don't know. Everyone reads the papers their own way, and it's none of my business. The thing about the obituaries is that it is one of the most ironic depictions of a human life. You see the header and it's always "John Johnson, dead by rape in the eye. He was a loving husband, a loving father, and a loving lover". And then they put the date in which he died, as if you really care (or at least I don't).
How would you like to have your own little box in the paper when you die? It's like the event of dying is downplayed by the fact that it is on the papers. We, as human beings, are attracted towards the more exciting/violent/disturbing/important events of our current humanity. I mean, who gives a fuck if an old man dies? No one. The fact that his death is on the obituaries further proves its lack of meaning. You dismiss it by the simple action of turning the page, or even worse, you don't read that section at all.
Now, I'm not saying that it is wrong to ignore the death of another human being. Thousands of people die everyday, and we have grown used to that fact. But, is it really correct to humiliate the dead by putting their name in a little box, with some ridiculous prayer and the "hope that they rest in peace". How can someone dead rest in peace? They are dead, it's not like they're sleeping. They have stopped living, and they will rot in their graves (unless they are cremated, which is basically skipping the whole "rot" process).
Can a person's life be condensed in a single, tiny box? It is a human life, after all. What about what he or she lived? What about the people that he met? What about the places she visited? What about their families? Can all that information, can all that soul, be poured into a rectangle on a piece of paper?
I don't think so.
But while the obituaries downplay the event of dying, it seems that the funerals amplify it. I'm pretty sure most people have been in a funeral. Stop for a second, and remove the "pain" part of it. View it as a simple reunion, and ignore the fact that someone has died.
It is just people crying and mourning, that's all.
Who wants to go through that? Nobody does. I mean, he's dead right? So why is it necessary to put his corpse in a casket and display it for everyone to see? I know, it's "honoring" his death and "wishing" him the best. It's just that funerals ritualize the event, and it has become somewhat redundant too.
But, if obituaries downplay it, and funerals exaggerate it, what is the best way to mourn a death?
By doing both obviously! As a fucking joke to mankind, why don't we make a funeral and then we make an obituary about it? Come to think of it, that's the only way it can balance out. You exaggerate it for the close ones, and you downplay it for the other ones, it makes sense.
Because in life, you either give a fuck, or you don't give a fuck. There's no in between.
Written for the January 2011 FanBBS Competition.