Monday, February 18, 2008

What You Talking About, Poe?

So I’m researching epitaphs. Why? Because it beats the hell out of writing. Some of course are amusing:

Here lies the body of our Anna

Done to death by a banana

It wasn't the fruit that laid her low

But the skin of the thing that made her go.

Heather tells me, by the way, that NPR told her that the bananas we eat will disappear in 30 years due to Panama disease. I miss them already. She further tells me that bananas are sterile and so are essentially clones of one another. We are all eating one banana. I have to quit talking bananas with Heather because she is blowing my mind.

But getting to the famous epitaphs I find Poe’s: “Quoth the Raven, Nevermore.” Why does that make me so sad? Am I the only one who had a morbid teacher who made us play the come up with your obiturary? I can swear the same teacher made us draw a tombstone and write our own epitaph, but you know the betrayer memory…tricky bastard. I was both frightened out of my mind my these exercises in mortality and offended that I could (at some insanely young age) sum up my life in a sentence.

And that’s Poe’s: Quoth the Raven, Nevermore. It’s perfect, some would say. Fitting. But my problem is that it’s cliché. I know you can’t judge that time then from the standards of now. But I can only react now and that’s like Gary Coleman’s epitaph being “What you talking about, God?” Wait, is that his epitaph? No, that’s right, he didn’t die recently…he got married—totally different. Unless you were in a Poe story where death and marriage might be something akin.


Kevin said...

I like Edward Abbey's epitaph: "No Comment"

I personally plan on being buried in an unmarked grave because the pressure of coming up with a good epitaph is too much for me.

S. Craig Renfroe, Jr. said...

Hey, Kevin, thanks for the comment. And that's a great epitaph.

I want to say I'd go with the unmarked grave, too. Maybe a pine box to boot. But secretly, I want a giant mausoleum with essay epitaphs carved into all four sides.