OBITUARIES

In celebration of one of my New Year’s resolutions–the one about being lazy from time to time–I’m simply going to ask a question today.

What would you like your obituary to say?

I was reading the Sunday Dec. 30 issue of the New York Times Magazine, entitled “The Lives They Lived”. It’s a collection of essays on noteworthy or well-known people (or people who should have been well-known) who died in 2007. It’s an astonishing array of people–and animals. (I was pleased to see Alex the talking parrot and Washoe, the hand-signing chimp included on the list.) Politicians and athletes, of course, but also the mother of a famous athlete. Soldiers. Inventors. A hacker. A blogger. A woman who helped hundreds of downed RAF pilots escape Germany under the very noses of the Nazis. Artists, writers, a fashion designer. People who set out to change the world and succeeded–or didn’t. People who had no intention of changing the world–and did.

It’s a fascinating collection of stories. I thought I’d read a couple. I couldn’t put it down til I’d read every one.

And it got me thinking about the obituary thing.

When all is said and done, and your live is someday beautifully summarized such on a page in the New York Times Magazine, what would you like it to say?

And more telling…

What do you think it would say now?