Here today, gone tomorrow,
Don’t need myself remembered
But what I help create and leave behind,
is important to me.- Jello Biafra (1990)
This appeared as the opening quote in the front of my PhD thesis in 1993. I was living on unemployment and trying to finish writing it before Christmas so it wouldn’t be hanging over me for the holidays. I remember printing the final copies for binding late one December evening. I left them on my desk and walked home. It was pouring with rain when I left the faculty building for the half hour walk home. I was soaked within a few minutes. By the time I got home, I might as well have been for a swim. As far as I was concerned, it was a perfect evening.
Twelve year’s later Jello Biafra’s post punk mantra still seems as relevant as it did that wet December night. Life is emphemeral and we can’t all leave it with memorials like Abraham Lincoln but that doesn’t mean that the small “monuments” we do leave behind aren’t important.