Open Letter To My Obituarist

Dear person who is going to tidy my life into one succinct paragraph (or maybe more if you have to make a word count),

In the event of my inevitable death you will be required to write a thing about me and I can only apologise that I have not given you more to go on. As I am not dead yet I will do everything in my power to give you enough for a small column in a tiny local newspaper that nobody will ever read – not that I’m saying your own personal career path is pointless, I’m sure you contribute to local news sections and such also. But in case I don’t, I would like the piece to include/not include the following things:

First and foremost: in the event it transpires I had a fling with the ‘90s actor Dean Cain best known for being Clark in The Adventures of Lois and Clark and then wearing weird turtle-neck sweaters and suede jackets on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and making men squirt milk in record-breaking distances from their tear ducts please do not make that the main hook in this life story. I have seen this happen. That shit is bleak. Do not mention my possible future romance with the ‘90s actor Dean Cain.

Instead you should focus on my future inventions (of which the patents are not even filed let alone pending, see first paragraph for apology). I suggest you hone in on the one piece for which I imagine I will be well known at the time of my death providing that doesn’t happen in the next five to twenty years. The Completo Deleto (obviously a working title) monitors the beat of your heart from afar and immediately wipes your harddrive should that beat stop, thus rendering the In-Case-Of-Death-Please-Delete-My-Porn Friend a thing of the past. It also deletes your Facebook account so it doesn’t become a sappy memorial space or place of annual embarrassment for birthday well-wishers who missed a memo, nixes your Twitter so undue gravity is not lent to the last thing you tweeted about Pauly Shore, and kills that Angelfire website you made when you were 13 where you wrote an essay about blocking a toilet in California and called it I Left My Turd In San Francisco. (It’s still there on page 10 of the Google results. You have forgotten this, but the machine will not. It’s all in my mental blue-print.)

How many words have we got? Do I get a 5,000-word tribute in the New York Times or am I relegated to the 30-word “Flowers no, charity yes” bin? If I died young and if you have a spare paragraph, I want you to focus on my potential. Hark back to those school report cards where I fulfilled none of it because of apathy rather than death (the latter being the new reason for why I didn’t do all the stuff I said I was going to do instead of the actual reason which is I was too busy stalking people on page 10 of Google). Those report cards made me sound like an aloof genius who never had to ask questions because she knew all the answers. Was I a person who knew all the answers? You tell me. Or tell your readers. Hell, I don’t know. I’m just throwing ideas out here. By the time you write this I will be dead and will no longer be required to present proof of knowing answers to anything. You can basically just freewheel this, is what I’m saying.

If my life trajectory continued in the way it’s currently going before I died in a horrific/freak incident involving a tree branch or torso murder or whatever then focus on my interesting death/torso. Do not go for the “true Southern gentlemen like to eat grits and cornbread” approach if I have done nothing notable but die. I don’t want everyone to know that I was living on a strange diet of quinoa because I watched a David Lynch cookery video on YouTube that one time and then got really into quinoa for some reason, spending all my time looking up quinoa recipes instead of writing that novel I always had the potential to write (for example). Tell them I died in pain. Did I get a Wikipedia entry in the end?

If my invention for the self-destructing HD et al. does pan out then chances are you have no photos to run with this thing. I’m sorry. You could get some off my parents but they would be out of date or my parents might be dead and to be honest I’m not sure I want that facial mistake printed in an actual newspaper. Perhaps you could get Charles Burns to rehash a picture of Janeane Garofolo or something. But ibid. my ability to deliver on potentials and actually carry out genius ideas: I predict you are going to be okay. You are going to have plenty of Photobooth pouts to choose from. You are going to have countless photos of me in questionable outfits because, like Cher in Clueless, I do not trust mirrors.

Yours,

imminently deceased,

Hayley Campbell

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