There’s a psychological technique that gets you to write your own epitaph.
The idea is that you think about what’s written on your gravestone – to encourage you to think about the person you’d like to be.
Then when you realise the massive distance between who you are now and the person described on the gravestone, you’re supposed to make huge changes in your life.
Like stopping being an arsehole, devoting your life to discovering a new cheese or finally getting divorced.
A Californian life coach would say this technique may help you ‘to live your best life’. Writing that phrase just literally made me gag.
Another problem with the epitaph technique is that my family don’t do gravestones.
We’ve always been burnt. Sometimes at the stake. Other times at the crem.
But we’ve always suffered from insufficient funds for a gravestone when we snuff it.
Still let’s not give up just yet.
Here’s some inspiration:
‘I told you I was ill’ on Spike Milligan’a grave is really good.
I also like these three:
Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723) in St. Paul’s Cathedral:
‘Si monumentum requiris circumspice.’
‘If you require a monument, look around.’
Mrs Aphra Behn (1640-89):
‘Here lies a proof that wit can never be, defence enough against mortality.’
Dorothy Parker (1893-1967):
‘Excuse my dust.’
Actually this exercise has really got me thinking. So here goes with some I’ve just thought up:
‘He spent his life either nervous, angry or off his tits on hardcore painkillers and/or benzodiazepines.’
‘His haircuts never really suited him.’
‘Didn’t work out as well as we hoped – but not as badly as we feared. B+?-‘
‘He tried. He failed. He conked out.’
‘A transvestite until the age of four. Then things went downhill.’
‘Cats will miss him. (Actually, no they won’t.)’
‘Feared by no-one. Loved by a few. Ignored by many.’
‘He gave up the drink. He gave up the fags. And now he’s given up the ghost.’
Why not have a go at writing your own epitaph?
If nothing else, you can marvel at your own mediocrity.