Questions, Quora, and Inevitable Death

June 9, 2017


This post isn’t about beer.  However, I really love this photo that I took at the Brickstore Pub in Atlanta so I’m using it here as a placeholder for this post about dying and revealing secrets.  Thanks for clicking through anyway.

Have you ever read some of the questions and their corresponding answers on Quora?  Some of the questions are subjective and at first glance, kind of stupid – but some of the answers are brilliant.  I’d considered adding a couple topics to my Quora page so that I can immortalize myself by artfully answering people’s inquiries, but I don’t necessarily want my legacy to be cached answers I’ve penned about intellectual property law or solutions to bad dating mishaps, and plenty people these days can answer questions about why or what craft beer is or does.  One day I was skimming over the Quora digest email I receive and there was a question to the effect of, “What have you learned about someone after they died that you didn’t want to know?”  A pretty great question actually with equally thought-provoking answers.  To be honest, the question is kind of haunting.  Right up there with thinking of how many people will attend your funeral, and who is it exactly that are making those arrangements, who blows it off, and who doesn’t cry?  Immediately, I start thinking of all the material things I have to hide (as of this post, there still isn’t a way to publicly display my memories without my doing so on my own…) and all those things in the top and bottom drawers that I make sure are hidden from view any time we have guests over who haven’t seen how I decorated the master bedroom…

Then I start thinking about my journals.  Oh, god.  As we all know, life is not guaranteed from one minute to the next, and though I’m in good health I could disappear mortally from this earth today.  My thoughts go again to that top drawer, all those things that at least my husband (should he not pass before me) would have the decency to burn or hide.  But what about the things hiding in plain sight?  What about the 20 years worth of journals I’ve created and kept when I trusted literally no one else with what I had to say?  Who is going to uncover those in a box and open the pages to discover something shocking and horrifying about me or someone they know?  We are not talking day-to-day accounts of what I did today or complaints about how school is hard.  We’re talking life-changing information, not just for me, but for several other people.  Some of that stuff just doesn’t have a shelf life, even ten…fifteen years later.  How many people’s secrets am I keeping? How many people are keeping mine?  Yours?

Which brings me to the next thought:  why am I keeping these journals?  It’s no secret how therapeutic it is to grab a pen, touch it to paper and let your heart or soul pour into prose.  But, do you ever go back and read it?  Because, if the only therapy is to get it out of your system, there’s really no point in hanging on to journals after you’ve written them is there?  As for ‘learning from one’s mistakes,’ I clearly haven’t gone back and seen what I’ve said nor did I use my journals to set my life straight and to stop making stupid mistakes (it took about ten years before my twenties were over).  Actually, that is not entirely true.  I grabbed one from 2005 or 2006 the other day and it put me in all sorts of a funk that was difficult to get out of for at least a good week.  Yet, at home sits a shiny metal box with a lock (an easily pick-able lock) containing 25 books filled with my and other people’s secrets that if in the wrong hands would be sure destruction of many lives, even years after the fact.  Just thinking about this happening sends me into a panic.  So – no – I definitely don’t want them discovered after I’ve passed on; why can’t I throw them away?


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