The Suburbanite
  • Jim Hillibish: Our future: Only the good die networked

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  • When I die, bury me at ... Best Buy.
    It had to happen. What’s more old tech than a granite stone in a cemetery. It’s no wonder kids refuse to visit graves: No surround sound.
    The Japanese are thinking outside the coffin box. Looks like they’re going to beat our butts once again.
    Ishi No Koe has hit on empowering cemeteries. He’s putting cellphone codes on gravestones. You saunter by, happy you’re not six feet under. Only he can describe the rapture:
    “You take a picture of the code with your cellphone. It logs how many times the scan was tagged and provides interesting details of the person’s life.”
    The kicker is, the code records your name, and when you and all others last visited the grave. No more lying to Aunt Gertrude about doing your solemn duty.
    There’s more.
    Creative cemeteries in the highly competitive New Jersey mortality market are loading GPS chips into the stones. All you need is a smartphone, and the signal will lead you to the grave.
    There are almost 300,000 graves in Arlington National Cemetery. The public workers have misplaced tens of thousands of them. How do you lose a grave? Too many smoke breaks.
    The Army now is sending in the troops, armed with cellphones, to photograph and register all of the grave stones. This will be compared with records to find who is missing. Then it will go into a database accessible by cellphones that will pinpoint locations for visitors.
    So you find a grave, but it still is so lifeless.
    We are a multimedia generation. Next up, a Wi-Fi network broadcasting from each stone. Connect to it your cell or tablet or laptop computer, and it runs a mini-documentary of the deceased’s life, in high-definition. Beware: It will be a little “Twilight Zone” at first, you know, “the voice from the grave.”
    Which adds yet another complication to death: What do we put in our PowerPoint finale? Do we really want to do a two-way with a 3-D hologram of mom in her apron?
    How long will it take before coffin Web cams?
    Death is becoming like weddings. We must spend hours agonizing over what to say and more hours agonizing over the music. I’d opt for a Louis Black comedy routine and “Only the Good Die Young” by Dinah Cancer and her band, 45 Grave. (I’m not making this up, folks.)
    Think of it. You could sell Web ads that pop up over the presentation and antagonize the hell, so to speak, out of viewers:
    “Proudly sponsored by Geritol.”

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