Here’s what I wrote:
Do the online memorial sites that are up there presently give visitors enough to do? Possibly not.
So, to all entrepreneurial web developers out there looking to make a few bob out of those who sob, I offer this wheeze.
Go the whole bagel: design and create a many-acred virtual burial ground. Sell a grave to each new client. Enable them to buy a headstone and dictate an inscription. Let them buy flower urns and flowers, plants for the grave, wind chimes, teddy bears, solar-powered angels. Pocket the money. Give a token percentage to good causes.
As time goes by, flowers die, the grave becomes unkempt and the headstone gets dirty. Give clients routine chores to do when they visit.
And give them every retail opportunity to mark anniversaries.
From time to time, bad things happen. Vandals spray graffiti or leave behind the detritus of drug use. Topple-testers condemn the headstone and require it to be re-fixed. Get your client to rectify these bad things.
Keep ‘em busy!
Enable different visitors to the burial ground, if they are there at the same time, to talk to each other if they agree to; thereby you will enable the formation of mutually supportive bereavement groups.
Enough. That ought to fire your imagination. Take it from there.
Just don’t, whatever you do, even under torture, credit me with this tasteless, mawkish, vile idea. I shall go to my grave denying it.
So far as I know no one has hacked into my computer and seen this. I can therefore disclaim all responsibility for the work in progress you can see at EternalSpace.
Actually, they’ve done much, much better than me. Well, they’ve gone much further. In their virtual resting place you can choose your scenic setting. You can choose your own markers and mausoleums, growing trees, flowing fountains, fluttering butterflies, waving flags from around the world and beautifully carved religious symbols. You can send a virtual gift from a wide selection. You can do this till you die, and so then can your heirs from everlasting to everlasting. Undertakers who sell EternalSpace to their clients will get a slice of the profits.
I have a feeling that the excellent Jonathan Davies at MuchLoved will not be quaking in his boots.
Here’s a qualification: I have not seen the realisation of the EternalSpace project. It may well prove me to be a grumpy old fuddy-duddy out of touch with the zeitgeist. I am prepared to eat my words.
One thing I will accord it without reservation: it is going to be much greener than any so-called green burial ground. It will never run out of space.
To prove that I am not antipathetic to v-stuff let me tell you how entranced I am by the v-funeral at the top of this piece. It was created by a Second Lifer for his real-life father, real-death photos of whom you can see in the clip.