There was an episode of Oprah that aired a long, long time ago that was about the survivors of terrible accidents. At least, I think that’s what it was about. It aired around the time of the Singapore Airlines flight 006 tragedy back in 2000, where a 747 aircraft didn’t manage to lift off before crashing into a cement barrier and ripping a hole in the plane’s side—ultimately sparking a fire that, in combination with the force of being split open at takeoff speeds, killed over half the passengers on board. The plane never even took off, but 94 people died. This is a truly insane and terrifying thing to have happened.
As someone who is struck by the spirit and impulsively whispers their childhood mantra-prayer at the takeoff and landing of every flight, I have been haunted by this particular story ever since. Planes dredge up a brief and existential dread for many people, right? For me, it lasts a very specific amount of time: the duration between the first jolt of of the plane picking up speed on the runway and through the point after lift-off where the engine sounds like it’s working overtime to crank the wheels back into the belly of the plane.
At some point during this period—for maybe 30 seconds of this span of four minutes or so—I consider what my legacy would be if I were to die, and what remnants of my personality would remain behind. Did I clear my browsing history? Did I text my family something nice before I took off? (I did, because I always text them that I love them before a flight, “just in case.”) Was the last thing I tweeted something brilliant and funny (rare!) or kind of mundane and inside-jokey (more likely!) or, even worse, about television?
I thought about that as recently as an hour before writing this post, when I once again boarded a plane that I was certain I would die on. Turns out this is a common concern within the Deadspin staff, too.
How do you keep yourself from ending on a terrible Last Tweet? Life is uncertain in all terms except the one, after all. The clear solution is to “never tweet,” so there’s no chance of dying with your last message to the world being one about Dat Boi, or how Media Twitter makes you want to die (though that would be ironic, wouldn’t it). After this conversation ended, Barry suggested that Twitter users should pin a good tweet to the top of their timeline, expressing love for all people, but especially those they particularly like. That also seems like a good option.
What will your last tweet be?