Samir Chopra

Charles Simic describes an ingenious and profitable aspiration for immortality :

[The] poet Mark Strand…told me excitedly one day that he had invented a new kind of gravestone that….would include…a slot where a coin could be inserted, that would activate a tape machine built into it, and play the deceased’s favorite songs, jokes…whatever else they find worthy of preserving for posterity. Visitors to the cemetery would insert as many coins as required to play the recording…and the accumulated earnings would be divided equally between the keepers of the cemetery and the family of the deceased.

[T]is invention… would transform these notoriously gloomy and desolate places by attracting big crowds…complete strangers seeking entertainment and the pearls of wisdom and musical selections of hundreds and hundreds of unknown men and women.

While this invention may strike one as frivolous and irreverent…it deals with a serious problem. What happens to everything we…

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