Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Memento Mori in San Francisco

photo © Mark Butkus 2018
Memento mori in San Francisco window.

      As you are
       I was
 As I am you will be
       Its OK to
      Go crazy
Sometimes thats what it takes
       To really live
      Do what you love
    Forget the rest

The first three lines of this storefront window poem are from a centuries-old memento mori found on gravestones in England. In modern times, it has wrongly been attributed to everyone from Himmler to Hunter S. Thompson in Hell's Angels.

The words peeking behind the memento mori, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," is a proverb first recorded in 1659. It has appeared in Jack Kerouac's 1962 novel Big Sur and famously used as a plot device in Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of Stephen King's novel, The Shining in 1980.