I got this picture in the mail the other day. Apparently, this gentleman wanted to be laid to rest in a God-awful mauve recliner, wearing a set of Burlington Coat Factory satin pajamas, pack of cigarettes at the ready so he could join St. Peter for a smoke break in the sky. The idea of an unusual funeral intrigued me so I did some googling. I found one gangsta who decided against an open casket, but instead was displayed under the gull wing door of his Lamborghini. Then there was this:
The tomb of a young man who died just shy of getting his driver’s license and the Mercedes Benz his wealthy family had promised him.
This, and a recent death in my family, had me thinking how I’d want my “Last Hurrah” done. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have any idea what I want, but I have some real good ideas as to what I do NOT want.
Should I die in a traffic accident, I do not want a roadside memorial. And I vow to haunt anyone who thinks my life should best be memorialized with a crude homemade cross and some plastic flowers.
I do NOT want an open casket. I shudder to think that everyone’s last memory of me would be the image of me laying in a box, wearing clothes I wouldn’t have dared wear in life, airbrushed beyond recongnition, with my face glued into an unnatural expression. A closed casket will also prevent the very creepy practice of anyone touching my corpse.
In fact, just cremate me. I hear that’s cheaper. But don’t scatter my ashes anywhere. I’ve been to an ashes scattering ceremony before. It’s gross. My grandmother and her husband were cremated, and we had a memorial weekend where we all went to a spot along a trail at one of their favorite state parks and scattered the ashes. When I say “we all”, please remember that my grandmother was a recovered Catholic with nine children, 20-some grandkids, and a handful of great grand kids when she passed. When it came time to do the scattering it was pandomonium. Little kids tripping as they rushed, little hands full of ash, to scatter it. Ash flying through the air. Someone got a handful right in their open toed shoes. Ladies had it stuck under their fingernails. I couldn’t touch it, and as the cloud of ash from 30-odd scatterers grew larger, I made a quick getaway.
I don’t know what you do with ashes if you don’t scatter them. Keep them in an urn if you want. But make sure its a nice urn. I don’t want something with a tole-painted chicken or a cabbage rose on it.
Or do something funny with them. Have the ash separated into little viles, and pour a little into the ashtrays when you go visit people. Only you will know what it is, and what a wonderful little inside joke!
I guess there should be some sort of service so people can say goodbye. But I don’t want it at a funeral home. They usually look like they were decorated by someone’s grandmother and they smell funny. Besides that, they always make the coffee too strong. And I don’t want a preacher. I’ve never understood the point of having a man of God up there to remind everyone who has come to pay their last respects that their time is coming too. Besides, if I happen to be watching from the hereafter I don’t want to be bored to sleep before I’ve even settled in. And don’t send any damn flowers. I never have been able to keep a plant alive. Except a poinsettia. That I can’t kill, and Christmas was months ago.
Some music will keep things from being too quiet as the mourners gather. But spare me Amazing Grace. Have some fun. How about “Stayin Alive”, wouldn’t that be a hoot!
And please, refrain from telling tear-jerker stories about me. “Was always so nice…” “Would give the shirt…” “…was such a dear”. Yeah, yeah. That stuff they should just put on a soundtrack and play it at every funeral. Wouldn’t it lighten the mood much more to reminisce on the time I puked in your car after three too many in college? Or the time I overdrew my checking account to buy lottery tickets because I just KNEW I would win?
Most wakes are just boring. They’re like depressing cocktail parties but without the cocktails. So maybe an open bar would be a good idea. Just keep away the relatives who you know shouldn’t be mixing vodka with their medications. And if a few poker machines could be set up in a back room somewhere, there are several friends and family members who I would love to have “lock it up” in my honor.
And after all the old folks have left, how bout a stripper? Can’t you just see some amateur Chippendale quipping “There’s more than one stiff in here!” as he tore off his breakaway pants? Wouldn’t that be a lot more memorable than a boring eulogy?