Thinkin’ ‘Bout Tombstones

My wife and I were hanging out at the cemetery the other day, as we do on occasion[1], and looking around at the tombstones I remarked: “I’d like to get some kind of code on our headstone.” Naturally, my wife ignored me, as she does on occasion, but I was thinking about it again this morning.

I’m thinking that it would be cool to have a kind of cipher engraved on the headstone so that people wandering by to visit other dead people would see this weird script and wonder what it meant. It might even bring in some cryptologists to give it the ol’ once-over. I’d be dead so I’d never know if anyone solved it, but aside from convincing my wife that this is a Good Idea, there are two major issues.

First, of course, is finding something worthwhile to engrave. This has to be for eternity, of course, or at least as long as the weather permits engravings to remain etched without significant wear.

The second is more pressing: figuring out a worthwhile cipher that can’t just be decoded with a quick trip to Wikipedia. I don’t have any visions that I — someone who has trouble with basic math — could come up with any kind of code system that would stump a dedicated investigator, short of just making up something totally dumb and illogical, but it would be nice to have something of suitable complexity that it would stymie your average passer-by.

1 Comment

  • Pete S

    September 17, 2019 - 11:41 AM

    This reminds me (once again, a wild tangent) of a company I worked at way back in the 80s. It had a software department (I wasn’t part of it) and the nerds held a party and they sent out the invitation with the address and stuff in binary to keep out the riff-raff. (I of course re-wrote it in English and distributed it, but it turned out no one wanted to go to their party anyway.)

    We didn’t like them very much. Looking back, I understand why they were twisted: They were writing software using Forth.

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