Heydon Is Dead

This post is the first in a two part series examining the senescence and ultimate mortality of this blog’s proprietor, Heydon Pickering. This week, guest author Malcolm Leader-Thought will make the case that, yes, Heydon Pickering is, in fact, dead; kaput; pushing up the daisies. In the second installment, Tim Upman-Ship will argue that, “no, Heydon is not dead, in fact I saw him walking down Bedford Street on Saturday morning. He looked well, actually. I think he’s working out.”


Have you ever considered the notion that Heydon Pickering might be dead? Probably not — there’s no reason why it should occur to you. But now I’ve brought it up, don’t you feel compelled to examine the idea further, if only just to revel in its absurdity? Yes you do. I’ll be the first to admit it’s a controversial argument to make. In fact, it has very little utility other than in creating controversy, driving traffic to its locus of pointless speculation.

If you open up your mind and really think about it, this puts a question mark over my use of the word “admit”: It makes it sound like this patently manufactured controversy was an accidental happenstance, which is disingenuous. But it’s important to ask questions, and it’s a good thing that people like me are brave enough to do so. Try to ignore the fact that I started by making statements and now I’m talking about questions for some reason.

A big question mark
A question mark, yesterday.

Let’s have a list. Do me a favor and pretend that each item in the list is, somehow, supporting evidence that Heydon Pickering is dead, rather than merely a discrete morsel of conjectural drivel.

  • Heydon hasn’t changed his Twitter avatar in over three days
  • I’ve never met Heydon
  • Heydon hasn’t replied to that long, rambling email I sent the other day — the one filled with vague and nonsensical questions
  • Heydon staggered into the office of my tech startup on Tuesday morning with a pallid complexion and empty eyes, then proceeded to bite 372 grammes of flesh out of my left arse cheek. (This isn’t technically true but you can’t argue that it couldn’t happen, because everything is possible no matter how unlikely. Also, that “372″ figure is oddly specific, which must mean something.)

Stuff moves fast

It was never really about evidence. Well, it was twenty minutes ago when I was making the list you just read, but I’ve lost confidence in that and I’ve decided to change tack. Now it’s all about getting you on side with sweeping statements and making you feel there’s a vague threat of disenfranchisement on the horizon.

I mean, what if Heydon Pickering is dead and you’re the last person to publicly acknowledge it? Do you really want to be the only person sending Heydon tweets and birthday cards in five or even two year’s time? Can you afford the professional and personal embarrassment of being seen to fixate on the deceased? Of course not, and I think we can agree that the question of whether Heydon Pickering has demonstrably popped his clogs isn’t even a factor here.

Don’t worry, I can help. Your career is safe in my hands. All you have to do is compose a simple tweet. Just write the word “this” and link to this article. That’s it. Look, I’ve even mocked it up for you:

Tech Crunch linking to this article with the word this

If you’re lucky and you’re one of the first to do so, you might even be credited as an early adopter: one of the first people to consider Heydon Pickering no longer a living, breathing mammalian organism. Then when he really dies, you can say you were ahead of the curve.

baton
Is it time to pass on the baton of life? To, like, a child or something?

Now an interview

In this final section, I’m going to call upon the experience of a person you’ve never heard of who you suspect is either my colleague or lover.

So, Kenneth, is Heydon dead?

“That’s an important question — a question we all need to ask. And I think the answer is ‘it depends’. It depends on whether Heydon is up and about, breathing and talking and generally doing things as a living person might or if he’s laying down very still, secreting the scent of necrosis.”

Okay, but do you think he will die, if he hasn’t already?

“I think the writing’s on the wall. Heydon Pickering’s mortality means he just isn’t going to live forever. It might be time to bite the bullet and start working and conversing with younger and fitter people. People who were born after Heydon.”

What do you think the future holds?

“I think we need to radically rethink the landscape. In fact, I think we need to start thinking in terms of seascapes instead. We’ve started to invest in lobsters, since they do not show signs of senescence at all; they just keep on growing and getting stronger throughout their lives. They’re also much more willing to reproduce than Heydon.”