Death is such a wonderful subject.
This morning I read the obituaries. This was after I read an article on Egyptian newspapers being shelved for censorship. Something about SCAF being murderous fiends, revolutionaries taking back their revolution, angry Arabs, something, something, and something. We’re also on the verge of some re-vote, which I don’t get. ‘Cause who are we voting for again? How are we re-voting and revolting all at the same time? Who counted the first votes? So if we do get some kind of liberal representative, will the legion of Islamists still take control? Where is my passport? Not the Egyptian one, I’m still waiting for another country to cotton on to my greatness and welcome me with open arms (Hey America, where my Green Card at?). And then Egyptians try to be positive, and gossip profiles on Facebook go mental, simultaneously telling me to get drunk and vote at the same time. It is a paradoxical time apparently. So clicking onto obituaries when I didn’t find a celebrity link on the independent.co.uk seemed like the natural progression of my day. (For full disclosure purposes, Mondays are horrible on celebrity and fashion websites. It’s the weekend over in civilisation, so there is only about a page of posts and the internet becomes a virtual desert. This is the main reason I stumbled on to The Independent.)
Obituaries are my new favourite thing to read. It is comforting to see someone’s entire life’s work so succinctly put in one headline. Ruth Stone apparently was “a poet who chronicled love and loss.” And David Langdon was a “cartoonist who depicted the incongruities of everyday life for six decades” and was “of medium height, clean-shaven and always immaculately dressed, [he] was a quiet, softly spoken man. He was also a keen golfer and an ardent fan of cricket and football.” I wanted to be David Langdon, specifically in his death. Then, because I’m very self-obsessed, I wondered what my obituary would say.
“Hassan Hassan: editor/artist who complained consistently for a decade. Upon failing to leave Egypt he drank lots of coffee because the only people who were nice to him were the baristas at his local coffee shop. He was also pretentious in the sense that he called these people baristas when they were in fact named Abdo. Born in 1984, he spent his life with his artistic talents repressed and just as he was about to make it, BAM, his country fucked him over. Tall, with a slight beard (not at all like the Muslim Brotherhood variety, but more along the lines of Tom Ford), crooked teeth and a penchant for torn jeans. He enjoyed watching television and eating copious amounts of carbohydrates. He died of boredom as he was crossing the 26th of July Street in Zamalek, going to get coffee for the umpteenth time. The baristas mourned.”
Then I stumbled (by stumbled I mean I opened each and every single article) upon an obituary that made me even more worried. “Svetlana Peters: Stalin’s daughter whose defection to the West did not bring peace of mind.” What If my defection to the West – if it ever happened – never gave me peace of mind? Granted, Svetlana had a murderous dictator father that was one of the worst things to happen to history, yada yada, but surely one can get over that with a sandwich from Pret A Manger? The writer also recounted her life as epic and tragic, which I’m always saying about my existence, except obviously for the whole epic part. The main differences lie in the fact that her mother committed suicide and her tyrannical father sent her first love to a prison camp for ten years and she then escaped Russia to go live somewhere or other. Then I started to blame my parents, because surely they could have given me a little more to work with. Svetlana had a mother load of daddy issues, and all I got was an Egyptian passport. Also, why did Svetlana not have an E! True Hollywood Story? Surely she warranted one. So I emailed the E! Network and told them to get on it. I often email them with story ideas to no avail. Then I panicked. Because now my life’s ambition is no longer an E! True Hollywood Story; but a really cool obituary. One that hopefully reads a little like “Leka Zogu: Controversial ‘king of Albanians’ who spent most of his life in exile.” Royalty? Exile? I’m sure he got peace of mind.