We all like to think we will have left a trace when we die. We want to leave a legacy, memories someone will hold onto, chunks of mineral someone will cherish. So we make gravestones, and bricks, and that sort of thing. If you’re an artist, maybe you can paint a self-portrait, but for the rest of us average Joes we settle for rocks and bricks, mostly. They last a long time, don’t go rotten, and they make your stomach sink when you eat them.1 Basically, writing your name on a brick is a perfect way to make sure someone remembers you.
But why stop with those who know your name—close family and personal friends? There are millions of people out there who don’t know your name. In fact, studies2 show that, unless you’re the Queen of England, on average, several billion people have never even heard of you, and don’t give a darn what you ate for dinner, or if you even wake up tomorrow morning.3 So in order to have the greatest impact and really get noticed—this is the amazing twist! Can4 you feel the anticipation?!—you should leave off your real name and carve that brick anonymously.
Think about the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, AKA the Unknown Soldier. Now that guy knew publicity. He’s so famous he’s got a tomb in England, one in the States, one in Italy, one in Moscow, one in France, and so on—he can sleep in a different tomb every day of the week if he likes, and people leave him flowers all the time. But if you’re not the tomb type (and I don’t blame you), a brick is much more doable. And if you’re not a soldier (and who is?), you’ll have to use a simpler title, like Anonymous. While Anonymous may sound like a Greek philosopher, it’s actually Chinese for “Not a name,” or something like that. Instead of carving your name on the brick, carve Anonymous. That way, you won’t be lost among all the other names that are only known to close family and friends, and EVERYONE will remember YOU.
“See that brick, Sally?”
“Which one, Tom?”
“Oh, yes, Anonymous. Dear ol’ Anonymous.”
“I sure miss ‘im.”
“Me, too, Tom, me, too.”
While this method isn’t dirt-cheap—it requires either a sandblaster or several hours of hard labour—it will leave you feeling satisfied, knowing you “made your mark.”
So, first get a brick. You can find bricks at the hardware store, but it’s easier if you find a brick sidewalk, which, by definition, already has the brick. Take one brick, and fill in the spot with a piece of styrofoam temporarily—this way, no one will notice.
Then, print the name ANONYMOUS out on a computer printer. Be sure to check the spelling. It’s spelled ANONYMOUS. Don’t spell it the American way, which is ANONYMOS, because it’s wrong. Think “colour,” “neighbour,” “behaviour,” “flavour,” “authour,” “sour,” “hour”. . . o-u, o-u, o-u.
For the following steps, you may want to put on some relaxing background music, like hard rock or heavy metal.
If you have a sandblaster, cut out the letters, affix to a sheet of metal, and cut the letters out of the metal. Lay this on your brick and sandblast away, until the letters are deep enough to read from several feet away. Sandblasting can be dangerous, so make sure there are small children in the area. A good place to do this is in a sandbox, because it usually has both sand and children.
If you don’t have a sandblaster, cut out the letters, tape the page on your brick, and carve the letters using a cold chisel. A cold chisel is one that has been in the refrigerator for awhile. If you’re not sure there are any left in the fridge, ask your mother.
Once the letters are carved, show the brick to a university student to make sure he can read it. If it’s illegible, it won’t work. If you spelled it wrong, you’ll have to send it to America.
Retrace your steps (did you remember to use breadcrumbs?) and place the brick back in the sidewalk exactly as it was before. Actually, if you like you can turn it 180 degrees so the word Anonymous is upside-down. Most people can read upside-down, and it’s more fun that way. Just make sure the letters are on top. However, if you accidentally place the letters on the bottom, then take the brick back to the shop and carve the letters again on the other side.5
Now that you have an Anonymous Brick, you could also try an Anonymous Potato.