The ghost of my father keeps leaving me post-its. He sticks them in my bathroom. I know they’re his because of the handwriting. I wouldn’t have known I knew my father’s handwriting but I recognized it immediately.
Each post-it includes a quote from Werner Erhard, the founder of est. It’s not clear if my father knows that I know where he’s getting these quotes. Are ghosts capable of knowing such things? Can they read our minds?
The first post-it appeared last week. My father placed it in the middle of the bathroom mirror where I couldn’t miss seeing it. It read: You don’t have to go looking for love when it’s where you come from. Let me tell you, it was weird seeing these words in my father’s handwriting. I checked to see if the door to my apartment was locked. It was. I’m not sure why I did this because, like I say, I recognized my father’s handwriting. He has a characteristic way of writing his lowercase y‘s. I think he must write them backwards, beginning with the descending stroke on the right.
The quote seemed familiar, so I looked it up online. Werner Erhard. Then I checked to see if the post-it matched the post-its I keep in my desk drawer. It did, though that didn’t actually prove anything since I use standard, yellow, two-by-two-inch post-its. There must be billions of these in the world. Also what difference does it make if my father used my post-it or one of his own?
The second post-it appeared the next day. It wasn’t on the mirror this time but along the left-edge of the bathroom cabinet. It read: Create your future from your future not your past. I recognized this as Werner Erhard without having to look it up. My father used to say it to me all the time. I always took it to mean I should forget all the shit he pulled when I was a kid.
This got me thinking about that shit, which I don’t like to do, and pretty soon I was so pissed off that I went to my desk and wrote a post-it of my own: Create your lies from your lies not from mine. I wasn’t really sure what this meant but I liked it anyway, so I stuck it on the cabinet in the same spot where I’d found his.
The next day he left me another post-it, this time on the faucet. It read: Happiness is a function of accepting what is.
My own post-it was still where I left it. Had he read it? Knowing him he probably saw it there and ignored it. On the other hand I’m not even sure ghosts can read. I tried to look this up online. Of course I realize that people write all kinds of crap online, but I was curious if anyone had written an account of ghosts reading. No one had, at least that I could find. Not that this proves anything.
I suppose the real question is whether ghosts can change. I know they change in The Sixth Sense. That’s the whole idea of the film – all the ghosts, including Bruce Willis, are in the process of accepting their deaths, although they don’t realize this. There’s proof everywhere that they’re dead but they can’t see it.
Is my father in the process of accepting his death? It doesn’t seem so. Instead it seems that he’s lecturing me, same as always. Every day there’s a new post-it. The one this morning went: In life, understanding is the booby prize. That’s Werner Erhard as well. They’re all Werner Erhard.
I stopped writing my own post-its after the one about lies. For one thing, I don’t know if my father can read them, and for another, I doubt he would even if he could. Also, what’s the point? That’s the clincher. Even if my father can read, and even if he is reading them, there’s no point.
However, a few days ago he left a post-it that really pissed me off, coming from him. It said: Your life works to the degree you keep your agreements. The moment I read this, I rushed to my desk, pulled out a post-it, and scribbled two words in big block letters: DROP DEAD.
Then I remembered. He is dead. He’s dead and doesn’t know it. This made me laugh. Not because he’s dead but because I’d forgotten. I’m just like my father: neither of us can see how dead he is.