If you're like me, you probably check Facebook numerous times a day. I do this for a myriad of reasons: to find out what friends are doing, to post pictures of my dog, Hoffman and to catch up on the latest news. Yes, Facebook has turned many of my friends into news reporters and weather commentators. But with the perks of Facebook comes the onslaught of less important posts we have to endure: the endless selfies, vacation pictures of someone's bare feet on the beach with the ocean in the distance and my own personal pet peeve: the announcement of the dead followed by those three letter, R-I-P.
I don't know why it bothers me to see R.I.P. under a photo of a recently departed celebrity or someone's loved one. Perhaps I have an issue with the acronym itself. Whenever I see R.I.P., I think of the word, rip, and then its meaning -- to cut or tear apart in a rough or vigorous manner - which seems like an awful thing to associate with someone's passing.
Two weeks ago, Eydie Gorme died. She was 84. I learned of her death on Facebook, of course. I won't say who posted the news, but they included a black and white photo of Eydie taken in the late 1950s. Below it they wrote, you guessed it, R.I.P. I remember thinking this person must have really liked Eydie Gorme? Why else would they have gone through all the trouble to first, download an image from Google and then, post it on Facebook? But why did they stop there? What would it have taken, an extra two seconds to type out 'Rest in peace?' Or why not write something more original like, 'I'll miss her dearly. I remember watching her sing with her husband, Steve Lawrence, on The Merv Griffin Show.'
It just doesn't seem right to use R.I.P. It's cold and insensitive. Would you say it in conversation? Could you imagine how that would sound?
"Hi Greg, how's your mom? I heard she was ill."
"She passed away last week."
"I'm sorry, well rip."
Now I know you must think I'm being overly sensitive and somewhat ridiculous. It's just that R.I.P conjures up memories of childhood when my mother and I would decorate the house for Halloween. Our neighbor created a graveyard in his front lawn with fake tombstones that had R.I.P. written across the front. He'd always positioned them so that they looked like they were about to topple over. I have never actually seen a real tombstone with the letters R-I-P etched under someone's name. I suppose they exist. I associate tombstones and R.I.P. with late October or books written by Edward Gorey along with cobwebs and ghosts. So how could I possibly take R.I.P. seriously?
I suppose I should just get over my frustration with the use of R.I.P. At least R.I.P. users make the attempt to remember the dead. When I think about it, R.I.P is a nice gesture in theory. It could be worse. Someone could have actually written something insensitive under Eydie Gorme's photo like, 'She was an okay singer. I'll remember fondly.' I guess writing R.I.P is better than that.
But, if I could appeal to your sense of humanity and ask you stop for one second to recall a time before Facebook, cell phones and Netflix; if you could remind yourself that in this ever growing world of attention deficit disorder that we're all just people and not some random selfish display of six-pack abs, that we're better than the guy who has to point out how bad the weather is for the eight straight day in a row, or those sand covered feet on the beach, and say, hey, the next time someone dies, I'm going to remember them properly and take the extra two seconds to write, 'Rest In Peace Eydie Gorme. You were one of the greats!"
Then just last night, I was watching television and during a commercial I checked my twitter account. The actress, Martha Plimpton, had tweeted, "RIP, Julie Harris. That's all."
Need I say more.