"that crazy cat
the cheshire grin
I found these lines on a scrap of paper behind the computer the other day. I scribbled them probably a week after Mac had passed and then promptly forgot about them. But then, I didn't hear about Mac's death until almost a week had passed. For that matter, none of us realized it for days after the fact. At which point, it was bedlam in our allotted portion of what's referred to as the collective mind.
I found Mac's "tombstone" (above) on a Posthuman Blues post (2004), entitled "Hey. this is fun!". He had used a "Tombstone Generator" to create it. So, if you feel that it's in bad taste for me to post it here, well, it was really Mac's "taste". Don't shoot the messenger.
My last email to him - never answered - contained the line: "Please tell me it's a hoax, Mac!" And for months I still wasn't entirely convinced it wasn't all a "hoax". But, as I began to randomly read between the lines of his posts on Posthuman Blues - as if I were being preternaturally directed, I might add - the thought began to occur to me that he knew all along. Oh, not in the conscious way one "knows" things - at least not initially; but I think it began to dawn on him that his morbidness wasn't a character flaw, nor an artist's pose, nor a writer's quirky predisposition. Instead - and this is just my opinion - Mac knew, ultimately, that his time as "Mac Tonnies" was short, and that he'd be going through that metaphorical "Door" sooner than he, or anyone, might expect. He didn't tell anyone... certainly not me. He couldn't. He didn't have time to say "goodbye"; the train arrived one day and he got on it. But, all the while, the intimations were there, if we had known enough to look for them.
But, then, we never do.
About that "Door", well, none of us can define it for certain. My guess is that we are as bewildered going out as we are coming in. Quite possibly, in other words, we never really "get it". You come into this dimension and then you go out again. There may be return trips, and, then again, there may not. "You" may be fully aware on some level, and, then again, you may not. "You" may be no more than a drop of rain on a window pane. Or, "you" may be so much more that no encrypted code could contain you. Kind of like Pi, an endless ratio. Who's to say? There are those who try - they call it "religion" - but if you, like myself (and Mac, for that matter), are predominately agnostic, then the jury's still out. Perhaps, this is the most accurate definition of "agnostic", in that, we intuitively feel that "something's happening", but we're not arrogant enough to pretend we know what "it" is... or, perhaps, too prudent to "buy" into any prevailing trends. Mac never entirely "bought" into anything, and I feel that was one of his greatest strengths. In every statement he ever made about anything it always included a footnote: "I don't know... I'm not claiming to know... this is merely an idea."
That being said, I am reminded of the "Ka Doors", or "false doors" that the ancient Egyptians added to their tombs. These were not actual doors, in the usual sense, as they were solid, seamless and physically impenetrable. Instead, these doors had a different purpose - through them one communicated with the dead "on the other side". One left offerings. In ways, you might say, the Western tradition of erecting monuments to the dead - i.e., tombstones - is analogous to the Ka Doors. But, did the Egyptians really "get it' more than we do? I suspect not... and, yet, they were more honest in their pursuit of an understanding of death... and they damned-well made sure they covered all the bases.
In closing, I merely implore you to leave your offerings, your memes, your names - whatever you choose - at any of the Ka doors available to you on this anniversary of Mac's passing. None physically exist - not even in Missouri - but there are a few places in cyberspace: here, for instance... or at Macbots... or you might revisit that place where this cyber-tale unfolded - that is, the comment sections on Page 1 & Page 2 of the last PHB posting.
Or, don't. Just cast a thought, and imagine our friend will receive it. Memories, singly or collectively, may act as the stepping stones in the various dimensions of incorporeal immortality we might eventually encounter. We pause, we spin, we reflect, we muse, we wonder... and then, we move on.
My very best and warmest feelings go out to each of you at this time... but, most especially to Mac.