inscriptions for headstones by Matthew Vollmer

this stone here lies in memory of a man who often appeared to have no memory, who could be counted upon least of anyone he knew to relay phone messages both important and trivial, who would not say hello to his family if you asked him to because he would not remember to do so, who often forgot names of people's children and who never remembered the names of other people's pets, who forgot to water the plants and lock the downstairs door before retiring, who forgot where he'd placed his wallet and keys and Swiss Army knife that he carried to pare his nails and open objects that had been encased in plastic, who often forgot to submit bills on time, who left the car windows down in the rain, who told stories to people that he had previously told and who forgot the stories his friends had told before, who missed meetings that had been right there on his calendar, who frequently, if you emailed him, did not respond, who never once during the relatively short-lived era of video stores returned a movie on time, who paid enormous sums to libraries because he had failed to bring back the books he had borrowed, who often left his pants unzipped despite having a fear of walking about with his pants unzipped, a man who would have missed your birthday had he known it, all of which adds up to someone who—supposing we want to put a positive spin on it—would totally understand if you had forgotten who he was and in fact promises that he will bear no ill will toward you should you forget him and, if, in the future, should the letters of his name in five ten twenty years from now fail to ring a bell, rest assured he would not be offended and would in fact be more than fine knowing that his name and face have completely escaped you