All life is ephemeral.
Here today, gone tomorrow.
Billions of men and women, many more billions of house pets, have come and gone.
Most of us leave traces in our wake. We live on for three or four generations in the memories of our loved ones and descendants.
One hundred years after our passing is my best estimate of the time it takes for the memory of us to dim to the faintest trace; to be barely discernible; perhaps only perceptible to the committed genealogists, and only if we are blessed to have one of those lunatic arborists in our extended family.
Of course there are exceptions.
There are those among us who have dared to be truly vile specimens in their lifetime. Their memory lives on for a while longer, in infamy, like the Boston strangler, or Jack the Ripper. Some particularly despicable miscreants, Caligula to call out an odious example, can persist in our collective memory for century upon century.
Those who, by dint of their singular will and charisma, have become towering political figures and commanded legions of us in their lifetime, conquering millions more, whether for good or ill, have clawed their way into the history books where their memory seems to be safe, if not for eternity, then at least for thousands of years. The Pharaohs come easily to mind.
But say, for instance, that subjugation, tyranny, and, to put it more simply, murder on an industrial scale, is not your thing.
What can simple, ordinary, loving, caring humans do to strive for immortality?
When an interviewer asked Woody Allen how he might achieve immortality, he replied “I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don't want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.”
Well this, dear reader, is your lucky day.
The secret for good people who strive to be remembered, is art.
Artists live on. Their memory is safe for as long as their art survives.
Authors live on as long as their words are remembered: Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Aristotle (OK, yes it's true, Julius did murder hundreds of thousands of his contemporaries, but, in his defence, it was more acceptable back in his day, and his memory lives more potently because of his writings - "... veni, vidi, vici!" - how poetic and succinct!). These are the examples that come easily to mind without the aid of Google or Siri.
But if you really want to leave an impression, forget dancing, acting, or singing. Nobody remembers those artists for very long. Quick, name a hit tune from the 900s, 1100s, or even the 1460s (and I don't mean AM radio frequencies)? See?
To achieve relative immortality, you've got to make a good impression. By that I mean, make a mark. Like a scratch, or a dent, or a chip, or a smear. Now we're talking the real deal.
Those who became serial smearers have left their mark: Picasso, Monet, Vermeer, Da Vinci, Tintoretto, and those graffiti taggers who defaced the caves of Lasceaux.
The scratchers, chippers, and denters may, just may, have done better: Hank Moore, Alex Caldwell, Louis Tiffany, Fred Remington, Augie Rodin, Bernini, Donatello (no, not the Ninja Turtle, the sculptor dude), and Alex of Antioch, to name a few.
Those who dared to cross platforms, to smear and to chip or tinker, just may be eternally immortal, like Leonardo (no, not Di Caprio or the Ninja Turtle, Da Vinci) and Michelangelo.
Don't get me started on the mudders, all those boys and girls who threw pots. They are among the oldest denters. The more famous ones both dented and smeared. In fact, it's the potters (no, not Harry) who really made their mark.
Makers' marks (no, not the bourbon). Don't believe me? Go no further than any episode of the Antiques Roadshow.
So what's a moto blogger to do to live on in popular memory?
We are artists. That's a decent start.
It's much too soon to tell how long our words and photos will persist. But there is definitely more than faint hope. Bits and bytes might just, in spite of their fragile nature ("my computer crashed!?!?!? I lost everything!?!?!"), be the cockroaches of all art media, virtually impossible to eradicate. Folks who suffer as victims of embarrassing content on the internet, have to resort to the highest courts to have the offending data expunged.
That said, there may be no substitute for making or leaving a mark.
I'm hedging my bets.
As a moto blogger I have made the bold move. I am a cross-platform artist. I have left a mark (many marks actually, truth be told). And now I'm recording it (them) right here, in this blog.
Well at least it's a start.
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