What do you want your epitaph to be? What would you choose?

Epitaph is an interesting word, as it means a short summary of one’s life but actually comes from the Greek words epi and taphos, meaning ‘on a (tomb)stone’. So it’s the ‘here lies etc’ that we read when we wander around cemeteries.

Most epitaphs give a name, birth and death date, while a few have a choice quotation, but you don’t see many of them around these days, which is a pity I think. It’s nice to get a snapshot of a person you don’t know, something they chose to sum up their live in a handful of words. You tend to find them in obituaries, which is another fascinating word because it derives from the latin word meaning to come up against something, as in to meet one’s end.

I don’t think I’ll be bothering with a tombstone or a grave, as I’d prefer to rot away environmentally, but I think I’d like something like ‘Occasionally aspired to greatness, but humdrum most of the time.’ Never hitting greatness, but aiming for it, is, I think, a reasonable goal.