The Dash Between Eight Numbers

About nine years ago, my high school journalism class had to write our own obituaries. It wasn’t just get us in the practice of writing obituaries should we ever be tasked to do so, but to give us a severe reminder that someone will be reading one about you, and we’d be too deceased to object.

The obituary stated I was born in Bronx, New York in 1988 and bullied most of my childhood due to my extreme intelligence. I went to college for Sound Engineering but changed it for Graphic Design and Age Engineering. The latter major was created by the American Academy of Dermatology Patient Information.

What an odd name.

I became an inventor with a competitive spirit, beating out my rivals to patent the Age-Stop, a device no different than the cryogenic machines that’s peppered across science fiction stories throughout time. When it was immediately successful the Age-Stop landed into every medical institution ever, earning the AADPI’s landmark major 60 million graduates worldwide. For something as game-changing as Age Engineering, I’m surprised I was able to have it whittled down to a course and not, say, almost a decade or more of intestine medical study with a few more years of trial and error for good measure.

In my grey-haired years I ventured into philanthropy and investing, donating my riches and time to causes such as The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Bureau of Missing and Exploited Children, Harpo, The National Protection of Pirates and Ninjas, The Pre-iPhone era of Apple Computers, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, and Save The…well, every animal was in the cross-hairs of my goodwill, including chickens, pigeons, whales, dogs, cats, endangered tigers, eagles, mice, and grasshoppers. I had two pet panthers. Upon my death I dreamed of dragons. I was survived by two my adopted sons Jimmoford and Bruce. Oh my god, I was weirder than I am now.

My fantasy life at 136 years old wasn’t all bad, and served as some foreshadowing:

  1. I did change my major a year later from Sound Design to Interactive Media Design.

2. I didn’t have sons, but I have a daughter who looks so much like me even Maury Povich would laugh me off the stage.

3. I currently struggle with eczema since I got it in 2012, so my fake contributions to the betterment of skin health was almost eerie as I read it. Because of the condition I do have a growing interest working the medical industry, however flawed it may be.

In my la-la land, I got shit done. But I shouldn’t be jealous of that Jevon Maxwell when the one writing this is alive enough to do the same things, with the exception of my unhealthy high school obsession of Century Gothic font.

Writing an obituary for yourself as an exercise shows you still have a chance to write your future while you’ll still alive. One draft could contain your legacies being built throughout your professional career. Another draft could have you deciding to bear legends in the form of children. Another draft could have you surviving a dark moment in your life only to come out the other end feeling brand new, spending your remaining days doing something entirely different.

Your obituary, however fake, can be a model for creation and change. Oh, it’s guaranteed someone else will write a permanent one for you.

But let’s make that writer’s assignment inspiring.

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