We’re All Gonna Die!

We’re all gonna die! We’re all gonna die!
And it’s only a matter of time.
We’ll live on in memory, and then not at all
(and it’s not any better in rhyme)
The meek and the mighty, the great and the small
Will be gone. So the message is clear:
Since you won’t be immortal, you’ve no time to waste;
Get the most from your life while you’re here.

A strange day today… lots of death–and yet, none of it today.

Radiolab (on our local radio, at least–the episode was from 2009) had 11 meditations on death and dying. Listening, I found out things I did not know about myself–mostly, that I had very strong opinions on most of the segments, and that I disagreed (again, strongly) with a good many of their guests.

As I drove along, I took a bit of a detour in order to hear the whole program. I found myself driving a road I had not traveled in many years, not since my kids were small, and I was driving cuttleson to a friend’s house. I passed that house, and remembered that this kid… a boy from my daycare, whom I had read stories to while he lay on his cot… this boy had died in a fire, at the age of 19, a few years ago, overcome by smoke as he tried to reach the door.

One of the Radiolab segments, long time readers will not be surprised, reminded me of my brother’s death. My brother continues to make a difference, years after his death, in very specific ways–in my classes, in programs he started at his work, in community projects he initiated and contributed many hours to, let alone in the memories of his wife and children, who must miss him even more than I do.

Perhaps my favorite segment reminded me of the big picture. I will likely not be remembered in a century… but it is possible. I will almost certainly not be remembered in a thousand years… but some are remembered from a thousand years ago, so it still possible. This segment took a longer view. A hundred million years. Our species will, in all likelihood, be gone. Most of the species we know–perhaps all of the species we know–will be gone. My book will be transformed to carbon–342 sheets of paper-thin coal, the verses long gone. (Ok, that doesn’t bother me–not so much as the segment’s assertion that Mozart will be gone, presumably along with Beethoven, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Justin Bieber).

We are all going to die–not just individually, but as civilizations, and as species. We won’t last forever.

Like the sidebar says… Since the music plays so briefly… can you blame me if I dance?

XKCD comic, “time robot”

(image, XKCD, of course)


  1. jstackpo says

    A bit of doggerel from my (increasingly distant) youth…

    When you’re dead, you’re dead all over;
    So when we live, lets live in clover.

    ‘Course, “live in clover” needs to be deconstructed a bit to allow others to live in clover, too.

  2. Johnny Vector says

    Or, as Walt Kelly used to say, “Don’t take life so serious. It ain’t nohow permanent.”

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