Immortality - Poem by Margaret Kollmer
The dictionary defines immortality as 'enduring fame or remembrance' and these are qualities to which most of us mortals aspire. The need for recognition lies within us all and it is probably just the thought of death itself that provides us with the inspiration or drive to establish ourselves creatively in the world in the hope that we will leave something of our enduring achievements behind us when we depart.
There are those who will go to any length to achieve this recognition, whether in this lifetime or the next. There are those who don't give a fig one way or another and there are those who would stoop at nothing to have their name and associated 'doings' go down in history. Many have been immortalised through music, science or even by their merry and sometimes highly dubious philanderings, but it is comforting to know that it is well within the reach of us ordinary, run-of-the-mill folk to attain our own immortality, bearing in mind that whichever means we use, our success, or failure, will ultimately be qualified by the measure of how hard we worked towards earning, if not 'enduring fame, ' then, at least, 'remembrance.'
Many of us would also feel vindicated, on drawing our last earthly breath, to know that in the vast spectrum of Carl Sagan's universe, we were not merely the 'small speck' he said we were. (Some of us, ipso fatso, could very well be considered somewhat larger specks than even he had in mind.) We were, instead, Someone. Someone who had achieved something by which our name would be carried on down through successive generations.
Having established that we would like to go down in history as a 'Someone, ' it should be borne in mind that originality in the manner you choose to operate your immortality plan is of the essence. Although nothing is original in the true sense of the word, we are all capable of injecting a fresh slant on life; thus, we all have the same chance of succeeding in the immortality stakes.
Some people have managed to achieve immortality during their own lifetime; others have to wait. And wait. And, ho-hum, wait.
One very simple example of making sure that you'll never be forgotten, is to slip silently out of this world with the secret whereabouts of your safety deposit box key sealed forever upon your lips. Your name, and some others your mother would never have used, will be on your family's lips for many years to come but you will most surely have achieved your objective. And how much better than to have come and gone without ever having been noticed?
Elvis gyrated his hips to achieve his end. Nothing really spectacular about that; everyone has hips. It's what you do with them that counts. (Our own Jonty Rhodes, cricketing supremo, used his, together with his arms, in a marvellous display of going-going Boeing.)
Royalty, too, are not above the primaeval urge to immortalise themselves, as was amply evidenced by King George VI, who developed and mastered a very convincing stammer. Certainly, he will never be f-f-f-f-forgotten. Queen Victoria relied upon a prissy phrase to see her through, while Bloody Mary's immortality lives on in a drink of alcoholic splendour. Princess Anne four-lettered a path towards her own self-immortalisation whilst, more recently, her brother Charles achieved his by his expressed desire of making his permanent abode in his lady-friend's knickers. Of such things are Camelot, and immortality, made.
Remember Gary Glitter? Even when his former pop star image was totally sequinstrated, he was offered a part in 'The Shining.'
And what about Elizabeth Taylor, who will long be remembered as a dealer in gold scrap, running rings around any man in her field?
Or Barbara Cartland, the queen of tarts, as her heroines undoubtedly are once they escape the virginal confines of her many volumes?
This is all very well for the rich and famous but what can we ordinary folk do to ensure eternal remembrance?
As in the words of the song, anything goes. Anything that sets you apart and ensures that you do not pass through this life unnoticed. If you're dull and boring in life, how much more so in death?
Put a ring through your nose. Join the Mothers Against Mad Writers Society or become a meter-maid with an Oxford accent.
Try smiling. Especially when your husband tells you he's lost his wallet. This could ensure your immortality much, much quicker than you ever thought possible!
But, a word of warning before you start committing yourself to the memory of future generations.
Choose your method with care, wisdom and much aforethought. I once knew a man who tried to make himself unforgettable by always saying to anyone with a problem: 'Don't worry. Just ignore it.'
He said it so often that, when he died, everyone said: 'Don't worry. Just ignore him.'
Comments about Immortality by Margaret Kollmer
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