“Now I become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” — J. Robert Oppenheimer, on witnessing the first detonation of a nuclear weapon.
What have I, J. Robert Oppenheimer, done? The deadliest weapon in history was made by my hand, leaving me the terrible responsibility to build a quote of equal magnitude, a remark just as horrifying and enduring, a soundbite so pretentious it almost eclipses what I did in the first place.
No one man should wield that much power. Yet still, I found myself experimenting with verbs in places no man has ever put them, constructing previously untested sentence structures, blissfully ignorant of what their irreversible consequences would be.
Now, decades of historical fiction epigraphs will carry the weight of my actions. Entire English departments will be brought to their knees by my words.
I don’t sleep anymore. Every night, I am gripped by the same question: “When my life is over, how will my name ring out in the annals of BrainyQuote.com?”
It was a burden I bore, knowing my words would forever stand alongside kings’ and presidents’—history’s most self-important figures. I had no choice but to out-white-guy them by misappropriating the holy scripture of an Eastern religion that I got really into one summer and casting myself as the main deity of that religion.
I didn’t ask to be put in this position, but if I hadn’t stepped forward to sound like the worst guy you meet at a dinner party, someone else would have. That carries its own risks. What if their adage wasn’t as cerebral as mine?
I worry how I will be remembered, whether my words will stand the test of time or if they will fade into obscurity among the thousands of pages of other historical one-liners. I suppose now only God may judge my words because no one else can really parse the syntax.