Tombstones haven’t advanced much since someone figured out how to carve granite with a sharp pointy thing.
But technology has a way of eventually improving — or destroying — everything.
QR codes, those black and white boxes of computerized gibberish on almost everything that can be scanned with smartphones, are now popping up in cemeteries.
Scanning a code takes taphophiles to a website that details the life and times of the dearly departed. The trend may be catching on, according to a story in U.S.A. Today.
Edouard Garneau, 78, of Washington, died last year. But today, if you visit his grave near Seattle, you can scan a code and read about his life and view a photo gallery of his exploits.
Garneau’s wife of 53 years said “I think it’s a neat deal. It kind of keeps people alive a little longer, down through the generations.”
Will the high-tech trend worm its way to Atlanta? I gave Oakland Cemetery, home of Margaret Mitchell, Bobby Jones and countless other celebrated Georgians, a call.
David Moore, executive director of the Oakland Foundation, said he’s aware of QR codes and other technological doodads popping up in cemeteries. This year, Oakland added a service that gives cellphone users a tour of the African-American section of the historic graveyard.
Other ideas, such as an iPhone app or creating holograms of famed Oakland denizens, have been floated.
“Technology has given us ways to share our story with a wider audience,” said Moore, noting that more than 30,000 folks a year visit Oakland’s park-like environs. “But you can’t beat visiting the place and witnessing it first-hand.”
He’s right. There’s something about ancient moss-covered oaks, which gave the cemetery its name, that lend weight to the lives of the people interred there.
Perhaps it’s just as well there’s not a computer code on everything. If tombstones advanced as rapidly as men’s shaving technology, Oakland might look too much like the bridge of the starship Enterprise to enjoy a cool walk in the shade of Atlanta history.