My Turn - Life is uncertain
December 1, 2012
Earth has 7 billion humans.
Since modern Homo sapiens arrived around 55,000 B.C., approximately 110 billion have been born and more than 100 billion have died.
How many of those do we remember today, and how did they die?
Of course, far too many died in wars.
Just a smattering include the estimated 100 million that died in World War I and II; up to 60 million in the Mongol Conquests of the 13th Century; up to 9 million in the Russian Civil War of 1917-21; up to 4 million in the French Wars of Religion from 1562-98.
Then there were epidemics, mass starvations, natural disasters, accidents, murders, ad infinitum.
Most of the departed died younger than I am now.
These grim statistics provide perspective.
Regardless of age, wealth, looks, vocation, social or family status, most of us want to continue living.
Yet, few will be remembered by more than a handful, and will be completely forgotten after those few are gone.
It is a true cliché that life is fleeting and uncertain.
The late science fiction great Jack Williamson told me he had no expectations about an afterlife, but friendships here gave his life meaning.
Perhaps an unexpected compliment, words of empathy, sympathy or encouragement, or offer of tangible help can lighten the load just a little for fellow travelers before their footprints disappear into the sands of nature's crimes.
Wendel Sloan expects to be remembered exceedingly briefly by exceedingly few. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org