I had a lighthearted post ready to go. Hank Henshaw was fun to write about. I scrapped it. DO NOT READ THIS UNTIL YOU HAVE READ ANTHONY’S POST THIS WEEK. It’s that important. He bared his soul. Be that as it may, I still have something to say about Henshaw. It’s more intense, and terse, because I don’t want someone’s soul wafting in the breeze alone.
Poor Hank, as we stated in the podcast episode, was sick and tired of jumping bodies. He wanted an out. A permanent out. I can’t do justice to feelings of suicidality and how it affects everyone differently. I can lay out what it’s like to want to disappear. Hank can’t “die” the way we conceive of it. His essence is…somewhere. No, it’s everywhere, and he has technology to thank. But that’s not much different than what we’ve had as humans for centuries. Think about it. Some (most?) of you reading this have never met me. And yet, if you have heard our show you are likely reading this in my voice. This may be a few moments after I wrote this. Days? Weeks? Decades? I have no idea. Our recorded communication is our chance for immortality. You don’t even have to wait if it’s a phone call or live broadcast. We curate, editorialize, plagiarize, filter, mask, choreograph…but it’s all there. It may go viral, die out quick, turn retro, become an instant classic, or never get a single mention…it’s still there. The problem, my dear readers, is that, over time, there is no guarantee of what endures at any given time. History has a way of smoothing things over, like mountains eroding to sand. Is this less likely now that we have new methods of preserving our past? I doubt it. Ironically, the speed of change leads to swift obsolescence. I thought I could keep my whole catalog of favorite music on tapes…no, CDs…no minidisc (dead end) no tape drives (another dead end!) how about DVDR…hard drives? Biocomputer? Quant Drive? Who keeps track of the dongles? No, that’s not what you think, get your head out of the gutter. My point is the translation of information over time (crap, I forgot about evolving language!) doesn’t led itself to brisk updates.
Wow, Doc, you’ve taken some tangents before, what’s all of this about?
My point is, I have no idea how much of an impact anything I’m doing is going to have on the universe in the grand scheme of things. My guess is that it will amount to very little. I’m OK with that. Unfortunately, I have a predilection to be too complacent with that. Melancholy is my natural fancy. Ask yourself: if you were told that you were erased from all of existence, past, present, future, how would you feel? I’m odd because I’m honest and say that’s fine. I don’t need a scorecard.
I didn’t. Wow, life hits hard. I don’t have that option now. Too many people count on me. I matter to someone. Many. This is my only chance at impact. It can wash away after I die, whenever that may be, but I want that tiny little memory to be a spark in my daughter’s future. I don’t know what life has in store for my family, but I hope that I have left at least one positive moment I the past. I hope that what I’ve said, and what I’ve written, will have some sort of positive influence now.
None of it would have been possible without the myriad experiences in my short life. None of it happens without many people, especially Anthony. We’ve discussed privately his own tribulations, and he’s been a guiding light in my life. I shudder at the thought that I used to have the slogan “Ready to Die.” It was never intended as such, but it’s an affront to those who have suicidal thoughts. I saw it as an affirmation that there are important causes that are worth dying for. Ever since Anthony told me what he was going through, I have never said that since. Once you know better, be better, do better. Results Not Excuses. It Is What It Is. I don’t necessarily have a slogan in my life, but Anthony manages to be a walking motivation machine. And yet, a comment that I thought was offhand (I didn’t recall it until he told me about it a bit later, and he explained it to you in his post) impacted him hard. It was my solar flare when his ship was off kilter, but somehow it turned out well instead of disaster.
What Have I learned?
When I think that I shouldn’t exist because I am a flawed human and it’s better to be forgotten than hated, I will always have those moments when I mattered.
Even if they’re misremembered.
Even if they’re not reproducible.
Even if they’re gone.
Even if they’re forgotten.
I mattered to someone once. That’s all I need.
I hope Hank finds that level of peace some day.