Four Deaths


Walking around the block with Eric and Mom, we were talking about my Grand Purge of 2020, wherein I am discarding, donating, or destroying many, many things that I have. I have been taking pictures of things before sending them on their ways.

Eric commented he'd been looking at pictures recently, of family members long since passed, people no one alive remembers anymore, and wondered if there isn't a fourth death.

"There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time." ― David M. Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

The fourth death would be the last time someone looks at a picture of you.


A good chess teacher understands this: Tournament prize money spends, the trophies gather dust, the only things that truly last are the *games*. Play a great game, and you're immortal. Students and other people almost always have the wrong idea about why we play; if it's not about the games above all, you're playing for the wrong reasons.

Last time I wrote about suicide (mine, I mean), someone said: You're not dead until people stop talking about you. I don't know if he meant that as a means of preventing me or encouraging me. I'm reminded of this by Dr. Eagleman; I wonder where *he* borrowed it.

Now you have me thinking that the Internet is — in some slight way — extending lives, because isn't our Internet presence going to persist long after they've stopped talking about us, and won't our inadvertent appearances in camera pictures of others go on being seen by someone who knew someone who's in those pictures?

This reminds me of the movie "Coco".

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