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Sign up for chilling reminders

January 22, 2018

“I was hauling my wheelie toward the boarding gate for a New York-bound flight when an alert popped up on my iPhone. Its message was terse: 'Don’t forget, you’re going to die.'

 

"I was rattled, weirdly clammy, but finally resigned. I had, after all, signed on for this sobering reminder, parting with 99 cents for WeCroak, a jaunty little app devised to notify users like me, five times a day at seemingly random intervals, that try as we may to ignore it, there will be no dodging The End," writes Ruth La Ferlai in the ‘New York Times’ article titled ‘Outing Death’.

 

 

Excerpts:

 

Hansa Bergwall, a 35-year-old publicist in Brooklyn, founded WeCroak with Ian Thomas, 27, a freelance app developer.

 

WeCroak was born of Bhutanese folklore saying that to be happy, one ought to contemplate death five times a day. The app sends its users alternately somber and uplifting homilies several times a day.

 

The app, on iOS and Android, could not be simpler. Ad-free, it is there strictly to remind you that the end is near, its message accompanied by alternately somber and uplifting homilies: “The grave has no sunny corners” or, more motivating, “Begin again the story of your life.”

 

An older generation may well be resistant to the outing of death. Boomers especially are attached to the notion that they are their own entrepreneurs, running their bodies like corporations.

 

Mr. Thomas, who wrote code for the app, finds himself fielding requests for bleaker, grittier messages. “So far, the quotes are rather tame and contemplative,” one user complained. “I thought they’d be more hard-hitting.”

 

Simon Arizpe, a 27-year-old artist in Brooklyn who makes pop-up books, had his first brush with death in a fire that raced through his office. “Being so close to mortality in such a surprising way was a rude awakening,” he said, one that was reinforced in a positive way by the app. “It helped me suddenly realise that nothing is precious.”

 

When he downloaded the app, Mr. Arizpe got blowback from his friends. “Some of them were kind of disgusted,” he recalled. “They asked, ‘Why would you want to do that?’”

 

Challenged, he dug in his heels. “With so many stimuli coming at you, it’s nice to have something in your pocket that slows you down,” he said. “Besides, what could be more alluring than to break a taboo.”

 

Read full story here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/10/style/death-app-we-croak.html?smid=tw-share

 

 

 

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