This is a sign I spotted above the windscreen of a bus on the island of Brac, just off the Croatian coast. It was inside, above the driver's head, where the sun shade is attatched. I believe it was there to remind him that he didn't need to pay attention to safety when driving because we are only here for one purpose and that is death. What worried me is the way he seemed to be taking it so seriously when he was driving along the perilously twisting, mountainside roads.

We may as well wear it on a sign, over our heads or hanging around our necks. We're those kind of people, and anyone will always know it to look at us. You love us more for it. Easy and disposable and safe. We can be your martyrs or your muses. But we won't be around long enough to be you.

You wonder sometimes whose idea it was. Some god over some rainbow found a box of firecrackers buried in a thousand year old shed. In her benevolent decadence, she lights them one by one and tosses them into our cinderblock masoleums. We love them and we watch them sputter out. And we go to their funerals always in the same suit and dress. We play their favorite MTV songs. We talk about their pure hearts, because there is no one here about to change the world.

You're right, really, the best thing to do is pity us. But always from a distance. Always "it's sad that had to happen," but never "it's sad that happens every day." We're much better with our fuses spent and our undisguised jealousy forever locked safe behind milky eyes.

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