The longer I live, the more people fall away as the years tumble by.

For years, these were all grizzled old men, newspaper reporters and blue-collar sorts, who smoke themselves to death and gradually wasted away, with just a few paragraphs left in newspapers yellowing and crumbling away in an attic somewhere.

But as bigger and bigger pieces of ourselves end up in the ether, the Internet and the cloud and these operating systems, iOS whatever, I wonder how much of us is being preserved out there, in perpetuity.

I see pictures of the dead, pictures of which I am part, and we are together forever. The living and the dead, raising cups long empty to an ancient sky.

In the ether, people talk to these pictures, writing condolences on death anniversaries or birthdays, and sometimes these milestones coincide.

I see pictures of the dead, and I think maybe some day we will live as much in ones and zeros as we do out in the yard, walking the dog down the sidewalk.

Would that we wave at our neighbors, have a handshake and a kiss on the cheek. Not just a blip, a flick of the finger from our own locked homes, at keyboards distant.

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