“Yes I understand, That every life must end, As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, Oh I’m a lucky man, To count on both hands, The ones I love, Some folks just have one, Yeah others they got none ” – Pearl Jam, Just Breath
I am not on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Probably the closest thing I have to “social media” is LinkedIn. I have written before about my 80+ year old Dad and the amount of time he spends on Facebook. He likes to talk about and share news from his “Facebook Friends”, 1,300 and counting, 60% of which he has never met and knows nothing about them other than what they post on their profiles.
He relayed a story several months ago which I thought was funny and he didn’t, that he had sent a birthday greeting to someone and they never replied back. I asked him who this person was and how he knew him. He didn’t really “know him”, he was a Facebook friend. Apparently, this was someone who always “Liked” Dad’s post, so he thought they were big cyber buddies.
I got the guy’s name, the city he lived in and did a quick Google search. I found his obituary. He had died three months earlier. I passed that info on to my Dad, and this was his response, “No wonder he hasn’t Liked any of my posts lately. He always Liked the ones I put on about cooking lamb. He loves lamb.” You see, funny.
Facebook has more than 3 billion accounts. There are estimates that 30 million of those accounts are dead people and that number continues to increase. The reason why? The cool factor. My 30-year-old kids aren’t on Facebook, but my 80-year-old Dad is and so is my 60-year-old wife. I don’t know what the “cool” social media is right now, and I don’t care but there is something out there or on the drawing board that the younger generation is using that will quickly become “Uncool” once the Moms and Dads start posting what they cooked for dinner.
I stumbled upon the name of a guy I knew 25+ years ago. I had sold Craig some advertising back in my television days and then lost track of him when I changed careers and he got out of the retail business. I remember Craig as a rich kid who wore silk shirts with cufflinks and too much cologne. He fancied himself a real estate developer though he only built one building that I was aware of using his grandmother’s money.
I did a quick Google search to see what old Craig had been up to over the last 25 years. I found out he lived in a big house in an area I refer to as “horse country”, was married, had a couple of kids, and worked as a financial advisor. Oh yea, and he is dead. He died a couple of years ago in his mid-fifties.
There are approximately 7.8 billion on this planet and every year about 60 million of those people die. Of the 60 million people that pass away each year I might personally know or know of .0000001% of them (that would be 6). The other 59,999,994 I don’t have a clue who they are.
Humans have been walking on this earth for roughly 300,000 years. We are all the direct descendants of one of those first humans whose knuckles quit dragging the ground. That is too many great greats to even comprehend. I have always thought, like Eddie Vedder wrote, that if you can count on both your hands the ones you love then you have lived a well-meaning and productive life provided they love you back. If I get hit by a bus on the way home tonight, I have achieved that goal without even counting my dog.
As James noted (4:14), we are but a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Maybe, if we are lucky, we will be remembered by one or two generations. If we are really lucky and start having babies early, three generations. But rarely do us common folk, average Joes and Janes, get remembered much past three or four generations. Basically in 120 years no one will even know we existed unless of course we still have a Facebook account.