Column Date 2009-10-27

Bugging your heirs for all eternity

The video tombstone is here.

This bizarre invention lets you watch an eternal message from your deceased loved one -- a pre-recorded video that appears on a TV monitor that's built right into the front of his or her tombstone.

The video could be a memorial to your loved one's life, of course, or some personal reflections or comments, or a message to the family.

But it seems to me there's a good chance that these videos will get into the nitty-gritty of life, sort of a "reality show" in the graveyard.

And there's no telling what kind of messages people will leave:

"Hi, y'all. This is your Uncle Ted. I originally thought this was a pretty dumb idea, but now that I'm making this video, it's fun! But let's get serious here. I hope the $4,000,000 I left hidden under the bed was divided equally, according to my instructions. Otherwise, somebody in the family should get a lawyer, pronto. Ha, ha, ha. Just kidding."

"Finally...I can say a few things I've always wanted to say to my beloved family: Harold, my son, you're 50-years-old, for God's sake. How come you never found a good barber? Your hair has always been greasy and disgusting and much too long. Maybe that's why I haven't seen you with a decent-looking woman in years."

"Jim Peabody here, my friends. Wow -- seems like some of my relatives actually came to watch me on this tombstone TV thing. I am flattered, to be honest, because I always detested the whole lot of you. Just thought you should know that."

"Jeremy, my beloved husband, what the hell were you thinking, putting our life savings into sub-prime mortgages? You weren't even sure what they were. We lost millions, and that, as you well know, gave me the first of my three coronaries..."

"So here I am, making my TV debut from my own grave...and it feels really weird. Particularly because by the time anybody sees this, I'll be dead. In fact, maybe somebody is watching this hundreds of years in the future. Hey, maybe everyone on earth is dead, and I'm talking to some extraterrestrial doing his PhD. thesis. It's a screwy world -- and this tombstone idea is the screwiest ever. But it seems to be catching on here on this planet. Go figure."

(c) 2009 Peter Tannen