“I try to keep in mind that if I dropped dead tomorrow, all of my acrylic workplace awards would be in the trash the next day, and my job would be posted in the paper before my obituary.”
— Bernie Klinder, a consultant for a large tech company, The New York Times, Jan. 26, 2019
17 thoughts on “If I Dropped Dead Tomorrow”
One sentence that speaks the truth on so many levels…..
Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom;
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You’re the best qualified in the room:
Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions,
And see how they humble your soul.
Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
Is a measure of how much you’ll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you’ll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before.
The moral of this quaint example,
Is to do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.
Memory is a comfort for the living. (Thankfully) the dead could not care of what’s left or what’s remembered.
Or, as my mother put it: “When the Pope dies, they find another one.”
Hopefully after my demise and they’re shoveling the refuse out of my former living space, something I’ve made will give somebody some utility and perhaps a pleasant reminder of its maker.
If not, just keep shoveling.
Uh. Spot motherfucking on!
I worked with an experienced older worker who told me to put my hand in a bucket of water and pull it out. “The time it takes for the water to fill in the void left by your hand, that’s how long the company will miss you.”
All the folks who have commented on this post should watch the movie “About Schmidt” and pay attention to the cattle car symbolism. This old quote, possibly from De Gaulle says it all also: The grave yards are filled with indispensable men.”
Everything everyone here has said before me is 100% true.
And Mr. Klinder ; if for nothing else, I will remember you for what you said.
I’m sure there are people who live to work. Hopefully they enjoy their work. I know that I and most of my peers in the tech industry work to live and I can tell you working hard and making lots of money is way better than working hard and making little money. With that money I can purchase tools and the time to use them to make things without the pressure of supporting anyone with that work. I suppose I’m not the sort this quote is about though.
And yet Willy Loman achieved immortality.
Spot on! And with respect to the fist in the water bucket analogy, above, the same applies to most corporations within an industry, and certain industries within human history. It’s the humans, and maybe to some degree the humanity, that continue.
It is certain that the day will come when you will drop dead tomorrow. What comes after that is more important than the 70 or 80 years that came before. But most people don’t give it much thought. There’s no point in toiling decades on this earth if it all comes to nothing for all eternity. And even if you are the most famous person on the earth your existence will eventually be forgotten if not by the negligence of future generations then certainly when the sun and the earth burn out and are destroyed. Or if you are placing all your hope in space travel please keep in mind that scientists understand that even the entire universe will eventually come to an end. Your only hope is that there is eternal life after death. And I don’t know of any respectable religion that teaches eternal life is obtainable regardless of how you lived your life. Think about it.
As a practitioner of Bokononism, i can assure you that should I drop dead tomorrow, you and the rest of the world will all be gone..
Great quote. I actually threw out my acrylic awards not that long ago figuring no one would want them. On my desk I keep 4 four personal items, a baseball, a bottlehead baseball player, two personal photos. Mostly becuase if let go, it’s easy to pack and leave.
Part of why I like making furniture is that maybe some of it won’t be chopped up into firewood in the future and will live on a bit longer than I.
No truer statement was ever written.
Just another woodworking day…….
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