On the weekends, my family has started having the local paper delivered. I’ve justified the cost to my husband by saying I clip the coupons. Total lie. I just prefer the old-fashioned way of getting the news. Most readers have their favorite section. My husband goes for the sports. The kids like the funnies. And what do I reach for the first thing on a lazy Sunday morning? The Obituaries.
You might at this moment either think that I’m weird, which I am, or morbid, which I’m not. Ok, maybe a little in a cool Morticia Addams kinda way. But have you ever sat down and really read the obits? Each little passage tells a story of a lifetime, literally. Sometimes I find them the most positive, refreshing aspect of the whole paper. Through these snippets, we learn what’s really important in life: family, schooling, employment, religion, volunteerism, military service. No one ever complains about their neighbors, in-laws, or exes. Materialism vanishes. People concentrate on the true meaning of human existence.
Which got me to thinking. I need to write a guideline for my own obituary. These news articles stay online for ages. Plus, this might be the only 15 minutes of fame I ever receive. Would I prefer to be important enough to have the Wall Street Journal pre-write a piece and place on file when I bite the big one? Of course. But I don’t think I warrant that quite yet. So here are a few rules to follow when composing the synopsis of my life.
1) Include a young photo of me looking smoking. Yeah, everyone looks at the grandma-as-an-old-woman shots as cute. But the great surprise comes when you see a pic of granny in her 20s as a complete hottie. You know she had some good times looking like that.
2) Do not call me a homemaker. I rarely make the beds, let alone the whole house. People should phrase obituaries much like they write their resumes. Embellishments are not only necessary, but required. I think “Small Town Socialite” might do the trick.
3) Mention not only my family, but my friends as well. You might even want to note my enemies and all the secrets I have on them. I do enjoy having the last laugh.
4) Remember, I am a Christian-Buddhist-Jewish-Hindi. Might as well cover all the bases, just in case.
5) Make sure to mention the wine bar at the funeral in the last paragraph. We need tons of people to show for this event. Never doubt, I know how to throw a party. I want music, drinking, reminiscing and laughter. I will be watching either from above, underneath, or somewhere in between. And if you don’t enjoy it, I may choose to haunt you just for the hell of it.
One thing families very rarely choose to list in this final description of their loved ones is the cause of death. Luckily, it seems most of the inhabitants of these pages have lived long lives and died from natural causes. It always makes me smile when I see someone who had made it past 90. Is it me, or do you see the impishness in their photos? I’ve always said I know I’ll live well over 100. According to the foremost authority on breathing and croaking, Billy Joel, only the good die young. I’m much more ornery than the average of American. So I’m thinking 120 sounds good. But if it’s needed, you may list my reason for death as living life to the fullest. Isn’t that the point of it all to begin with?