“Here he goes again!”
I can hear the cries of people tired of me writing about this stuff.
BUT . . . it’s not about what they think; it is, in fact, about stuff. Our stuff.
Every so often, starting when we were in our 30s, we take stock of what we have, and look at whatever provisions we should make for the time when we are no longer kicking around this rock. These provisions used to include the disposition of things we put value on (say, a keepsake as opposed to a drinking glass . . . although sometimes they can be one and the same).
The provisions are only good if we both die at the same time, say, for instance, our heads exploding as we listen to the news. If either one of us dies first, whatever plans we made for our stuff will likely be changed by the survivor.
So, this is, really, about the life after death of our stuff. I wrote a small piece on that HERE, and that just dealt with cups. We have many more things than just cups.
I’m only going to deal with stuff that is “mine”. I put that word in quotes because there is not an actual “mine” and “yours” in our lives. It’s our cars, our house, our combined money, our everything we own anywhere at any time.
But functionally, there are things we call “yours” and “mine”, mostly for convenience. If I say “we’ll drive your car”, we both know we are driving the Tahoe, for example. I think that is the same with most couples, although often it’s more literal for other couples than it is for us.
Plus, even though they are ours, Melisa has very little to do with the camera equipment, most computer equipment, and nothing to do with the guns and knives (as in pocket knives) we own. By the same token, while they are ours, I do very little with the cooking paraphernalia we own. I may photograph some of the teapots, but I don’t ‘do’ anything with them. Those are Melisa’s interest and hobby.
And that is fine as we both live. But what happens to our stuff if we both die?
We’ve gone to estates sales, antique stores, and other places that can be accurately be described as temporary depositories of “dead people’s stuff”.
Some things are easy. No matter how much any of our relatives might want them, the guns are going to get sold, and the money added to the estate, such as it is. But, what about books, posters, mementos of our lives that might mean something to us but are essentially junk to anyone else? Melisa’s cookbooks, my comic collections, those two perhaps might be easy to dispose to appropriate family members. Some might care about one thing or another, but you know, it’s kind of morbid to speak about it now since I don’t know if we’ll even have the stuff when we actually die (hopefully in 25-30 years, or so).
I have things which are of great value to me . . . as a living person. My writing, my blog, my photographs. Associated with all that there is a lot of supporting office equipment; a powerful computer, scanner, color printer, multiple drives, a crap-load of software.
It might seem easy to “give that to someone”. In fact, I know someone that might want my photos, might want my writing . . . or think they do.
What it would require of them would be to learn a lot more about computers, programs, different file formats, how I have everything stored, etc. etc. Not just learn more; learn multiple times more than what they currently know about any of that, or ever cared to learn.
There is no one in my life that could just walk in, sit at my computer, and be able to do much beyond get frustrated.
Same for my camera equipment. Same for my writing; it too has migrated into various formats and supporting programs; we’re not talking about journals here, handwritten and neatly filed.
That’s where this blog, SmugMug, and Picasa help a little.
A small portion, and I mean a very small portion, of what I have in photos can be found on SmugMug and Picasa. The advantage of those two photo sites is that everything there has already been post-processed, and both sites allow the owner (or anyone with the password) to download the whole content.
Honest, the rest of the photos might as well be scrapped unless someone has my dedication of taking any given photo, cropping it, cleaning it up, adjusting it, writing a story to go with it, and then share it. The problem is they won’t know the story. Won’t know how I do stuff, won’t know how to duplicate “my look” for the photos.
Why I say the rest of my stuff, on my hard drives and multiple backups, might as well be junked.
The connection to me of any given photo is not that the photo exists . . . it is what I do with it. I captured something with an intent to “do something with it”, and that goes out the window when I die.
So, we got photos taken care of . . . anything not already in SmugMug or Picasa can be junked. Everything in SmugMug and Picasa can be downloaded . . . for whatever reason, I don’t know. Anyone who would look at it has already done so, and they are not likely to go back and look at it again (I know; I track SmugMug visits).
So what would be the use of anyone downloading the photos? A moment of sentimentality, and then it’s just more digital junk.
What about leaving it up there for future people who might find the photos interesting?
Well, SmugMug costs a fair amount each year. I suppose I could provide some money for it, but then someone would have to handle it, do the paperwork, etc. All for about 20 viewers on a good month.
What about my writing . . . well, there’s this blog, and it currently has almost everything I ever wrote. I’m referring to fiction. A bunch of opinions, as well.
But that takes money as well. I pay so WordPress won’t put ads at the bottom of my posts, I pay for extra storage space, I pay for special fonts. Again, I could make provisions, but . . .
No, anyone who enjoys what I write (I can count them in one hand) has already read my stuff, and if they are honest, they will admit they don’t go back and re-read it . . .
. . . but, if you are one of them few, and think you might, go save what you need now. It’s gonna go away when I do.
Really, the value of things I care for rests in me being alive. After that, they just become part of the memory of me, and within a very short while, that too will fade.
So, here we are . . . we are at a point of our lives where the idea of being dead is not as far-fetched as it once seemed; it could literally happen tomorrow, or the next day. Or 30 years from now.
But meanwhile, we look around at all the things we’ve accumulated, and we come to an inescapable conclusion. Junk; just junk someone will walk through after we are gone, and ask the person running the estate sale “are you willing to sell me this for $2 less than the $4 that’s marked on there?”.
So, with every revision of our will, it becomes more simple. Sell everything, and only deal with the money. No one really wants the junk. They say they do, but come on, be honest. Even if there are some who want something of mine, it will just sit somewhere until they too pass from this world, and then the piece will have even less meaning to the survivors.
We’re going one step more . . . we’re going to get rid of almost everything we don’t look at or admire at least on a monthly basis, and do so while we still live. We have memories, and if those begin to go, we’ll make up some to take their place, or better yet, get new memories to carry us forward.
We can’t leave memories to anyone, and those really are the only important things in life.
If someone does not already have a memory of us, holding a piece of junk in their hand is not going to mean much to them. And if someone does have memories of us, well, then they don’t need the piece of junk after all.
I’ve taken to including this for my opinion pieces (when I remember). Of course, it says nothing for or against the merits of the content.
A higher score indicates easier readability; scores usually range between 0 and 100.
|Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease||78.5|
A grade level (based on the USA education system) is equivalent to the number of years of education a person has had. Scores over 22 should generally be taken to mean graduate level text.
|Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level||6.2|
|Automated Readability Index||5.3|
|Average Grade Level||7.0|
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