(Planet Me)
Thursday, August 09, 2007
There's Always Someone Cooler Than You

You think your parents are going to live forever. You think your children are going to live forever. Forever being, at least, after you die. Human beings don’t like to think of life as one continuation of ever replicating members of the species. A virus with wristwatches and mobile phones.

Your parents you think, may stay Gods forever. For a God is a creator of life. One day, my son will die. He may live – if lucky – another 80 years. The little boy that he is will one day be an old, grown man with wrinkles and white hair. All that remain of me is the decision we made naming him. That decision will probably be forgotten in three generations time : 120 years.

In 2127, nothing I have ever said or done will ever be remembered.

No will know about anything I ever wrote or said or photographed except possibly through the remains : the words, the .jpgs. The pixels of life. All the moments I have had will vanish, as if they never were. The moments where X crawls onto the bed, and unplugs my mobile and passes it to me. Where he picks up my glasses and tries to affix them to my head.

“Up! Daddy Up!” he says. He lifts the covers of the bed, and find my fingers and tries to pull me off the bed. He giggles as he does so.

I dress for work. I lean down. He leans up, his lips pursed to kiss. Sometimes, as I leave, he waves to me. “Bye”, he says. All these things will be forgotten.

If I am lucky, he will remember fragments of these moments when he is grown up. I remember a cycle travelling across the back garden of number 93. I remember my brother falling onto a broken glass in a pub car park. Soon, the last survivor of the first world war will be dead. The only survivor of Paschendale is 108 now.

There will come a time when there will be no left alive who ever saw The Beatles. When the times we lived through will be no more relevant to human history than the actions of a peasant in 1042.

The little boy has changed so much from when he was born. He’s been speaking words for years now. Car. Mummy. At the weekend, I was lifting him from his buggy where he was asleep, and to the car. His first words, an instinctual reflex – “Daddy!”

Not happy daddy, either. Daddy is the bad man in the house. Daddy changes nappies and clothes. Daddy says “No”. Daddy picks up X and puts him to bed. Daddy takes him into the house when he wants to play. Daddy is the bad man.

He strops towards me on uneven balance with tiny thumping feet and points at me. “Daddy!” in anger. He rats on me to Mum. He wants Mum to know that Daddy is a bad man. Sometimes he even leans up and slaps my thigh angrily. “Daddy! Don’t!” he chastises me. “Daddy No!” he scolds.

Soon he will forget all this. His big blue eyes will be absent and thinking of other things. One day he will have to bury me.


Death came to me early. You think your parents are going to live forever. Never grow old. Never die. How could this person, who protected and nurtured me leave?

I always grew up in the knowledge that my mother could die quite literally at any second. She was always ill. I remember, on foreign holidays, the worries if she took ill. I was in a state of what Martin Amis determines as PDA. Premature Death Awareness. There was never that feeling that everything might be alright. It wasn’t. From the moment I became aware of death, I was aware my mother was doomed to die.

One day everything I ever do or say will be forgotten. As if I never lived. If anything is left of me, I will be one of the few. Already so much is forgotten. All those stumbled passionate clinches are already fading into a hazy memory. I can no longer detail the outline of her face. The shape of her nose. It’s all going. Only now, the vaguest of outlines. I can’t even remember if I ever had sex. Does it matter? No. For all we know, it never happened. Make your time. For great justice.

As we get older, we become obsolete models. Dinosaurs, even. I am already replaced by younger, fresher, more dynamic employees. Working cheaper and harder. I am a victim of the brain drain. There’s always someone younger and cheaper than you.

X giggles. He pulls me by the hand and points at the television. “Look! Look!” he commands. He lives in a world where everything is new. Everything is to be discovered and everything is fresh. I remember his fascination last week with the crunching sound of gravel. One day, his fascination with the world, his purity, will be despoiled by the corruption of adulthood. He will fail to trust. I laugh more now I have a son. He will laugh less as he becomes an adult.

All it takes is time. You think your parents are going to live forever. You think your children will never die. All it takes is time.

it's weird that you were thinking of the last survivors of the first world war as I was talking about that with someone earlier today. It's about to pass out of living memory, and that's both a sad thing and a happy thing, I think. As long as we never forget.

But we do forget.

We have forgotten.

it is those that have seen war that know that war should always be the last resort
There's the old story (I think Mark recounted it)

Q:"Was your father in the war?"
Q:"Did he ever talk about it?"
Q:"That proves he really was in the war, then".
That's a wonderful post. The only thing I can say is to concentrate on the here and now with X. Before too long, you won't be his hero, just another old guy in his house trying to tell him what to do.
"All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."

-Roy Batty
That is why you need to enjoy every moment of your life, and dont waste your time on things that make you unhappy or sad. Having a child means that you teach them all the things you know, they will then teach there children and so it goes on, therefore the legacy lives on.
I try my best to enjoy the time, I only spend energyon what I do not enjoy trying to remove it.
"one day he will have to bury me"

powerful stuff
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