Did it ever occur to you that you could be more valuable deceased than alive? Well, it is often the case, especially since a dead bloke usually remains tight-lipped when asked embarrassing questions.
Regardless of your past, when you die, you instantly reach a state of grace known as “the free and unmerited favor of God”. All your missteps are edited out of your life story and the world is offered a clean version of yourself (especially if you leave some money behind).
Eulogies will be touching and heartfelt. Everybody will present a pleasant side (often unseen) of your personality, and after the funeral, you will reach a state close to sainthood.
Later, after a few drinks, tongues will loosen up and offer a more sober evaluation of your life. Friends will tell questionable stories about you that will anger some relatives and make others laugh.
“Some people start to live when they die” – Bangambiki Habyarimana
The same fate sometimes plagues artists. Painters or writers who starved during their lifetime are suddenly “discovered” by critics, minutes after the coffin is closed. They declare that such and such was an unappreciated genius and that his “croutes” (daubs) are now worth a fortune.
These dead artists then (despite their known shortcomings) become very fashionable and their work is suddenly very much in demand. Depending on where they are now resting, these artists will rage or laugh their heads off.
Some lucky people manage to enjoy their good fortune while still alive. But all giants have feet of clay, especially in our time. Any little crack can bring the whole edifice down. Even at the top of your form, you are vulnerable.
Your past makes you vulnerable because we all have done some questionable deeds in our youth. But a nobody is less susceptible to damage because he does not compete or threaten anybody. If he was suddenly exposed as a wife-beater, it would do him very little harm.
On the other hand, a celebrity is extremely vulnerable to gossip and will go to extremes to protect himself. Contract killings are not unusual and according to Hollywood, rather common…
When you are dead, you are absolved of all sins and cured of all diseases.
A sometimes-enviable situation…
“If fame is only to come after death, I am in no hurry for it.” Woody Allen