Dying in a First World country, in addition to being an exorbitant proposition, has always been complicated. Add to that numerous online accounts, passwords and other such rigmarole that can be accessed only by the deceased — and trust me, they aren't accessing a damn thing.
Who thinks to leave a list of passwords, accounts and other random minutiae to their next of kin? And what if there isn't a next of kin? Who will be there to discretely purge the numerous flesh pics you've accrued on your hard drive through the years? What about your social media accounts? Certainly no one's thinking, "Man, if I died tomorrow, who would end my Twitter account with one last, witty retort?" (Gene Cox excluded.)
Well, fear not, because Yahoo Japan is hoping to make the murky world of afterlife preparation much clearer with its new offering, Yahoo Ending.
Yahoo Ending promises to deactivate accounts when you leave this world. It also will delete documents, videos and photos from online storage accounts. It then creates a memorial space in which loved ones can leave messages for the dearly departed. Plus, you can write messages that will go out to your loved ones after you die. Messages which obviously should be called ghost mail or mailer-demon messages, but for reasons unclear to me are not.
The basic cost for all of this is $1.80 a month — and worth every penny.
Because we may die, but our Internet browser history lives on, taunting us, embarrassing us, letting loved ones know about our really perverse sexual side.
So first, let's go ahead and get that browser history cleaned up. I mean, I want it scrubbed, because there's some really weird stuff. Like, not normal stuff. Mostly of the German variety. Let's leave it at that.
Next, I'll have personalized messages for many people that I need sent out. Mostly a lot of, "I'm watching yous" and "I know what you dids" and "I'm a ghost and sitting right next to yous" and maybe even a few "I love yous."
And lastly, I'd like a page created where friends can come to reminisce about how awesome I was. Although most of the posts will be prewritten, provided by me under an assortment of aliases. Garden-variety stuff like, "Jack, you are the world's most tender lover and I'll never feel pleasure like that again. — Kate U." and "Bro, in addition to living a noble, purposeful life, you literally saved my life on that Himalayan mountaintop and I'll forever be in your debt. — Kyle Williams."
You know, stuff like that.
But it isn't all about what an extraordinary man, humanitarian, friend and public speaker I was.
The Ending system, however thoughtful it may seem to be, surely has the potential for abuse. Let's say a certain baby mama is fed up with your gross negligence and so-called failure to make court-ordered child support payments, and let's say that she's turning the figurative screws on your ass and making life slightly less than comfortable. Let's say these things. Then perhaps you need to disappear, forever, or at least until the heat dies down or the kid turns 18. But it can't be that easy, right?
When users register, they receive a booking number to share with someone they trust. So when they die, or pretend to die, that person calls a Yahoo Ending number and provides the number, which in turn shares the deceased's requests.
Bing, bang, boom. Responsibility averted.
Now we just need to find a replacement corpse.
Not that you should go to such incredibly easy lengths to escape your problems.
For now, Yahoo Ending is available only in Japan. But if you're looking to make sure the afterlife is smooth and free of potential incriminating documents or German porn, Americans have access to such sites as Eterniam.com, DeathSwitch.com, Afterwords.cc and WebCease.com.
I feel like we could find some better website names though, don't you think?
How do you feel about GraveDeedsDoneDirtCheap.com? It has a nice ring to it.
And for a limited time, if you upgrade to the GraveDeeds deluxe package for only $50 a month, we'll actually haunt your loved ones after you pass, in addition to settling old scores and ensuring, through violent intimidation, that your name forever will remain unbesmirched.
"You can rest in peace with GraveDeedsDoneDirtCheap.com."
Connect with Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lauterback also is co-host of "Mornings with Melissa and Jack" on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. On Twitter @jackgoesforth.