Sunday, January 29, 2012
My perfect ending
To the one person that’s noticed (you know who you are), I’m sorry I haven’t blogged lately. Life’s been busy, and the writing deadlines loom. Plus babies require a lot of attention, a simple fact I’d seemingly forgotten. Perhaps in the shadow of new life, it’s only natural that I think of: funerals.
For years I’ve known what kind of funeral I want. Is it morbid to spend time planning for your inevitable death? Maybe, but since it’s the one thing we can all currently guarantee we’ll experience, why not give it some thought? Granted, you’ll be dead, so who cares if your loved ones bury you in the backyard (illegal, apparently), chuck you in the river (also frowned upon), or stuff you and leave you leering in the corner of the living room (maybe not illegal, but absolutely a sign of sociopathy).
Of course, there is a segment of the population that believes the generation of humans that will live forever has already been born. That before we come to the end of our natural lifespan, science will discover some fantastic way to extend existence for a couple centuries, until they find the next breakthrough, which will last a little while longer until the next “Eureka!” moment, and so forth, with medical genius staying forever one step ahead of the Grim Reaper.
Then the sun will burn out and the planet will go. But of course by then we’ll have colonized the stars, etc, etc. Basically these people are incapable of seeing that a glass is not only half-empty, but contains only a drizzle of reduced arsenic residue.
But onto the funeral. I’m not the kind of person that inspires fresh-flower memorials or candlelit vigils. I’m given to understand that such things are typically only done for tragic death: cyclists run over in the road, murdered folk, victims of drunk drivers, that sort of thing. (An argument can and should be made that all death is either tragic or not. When your parent dies due to cancer, how is that not just as bad as a random hit-and-run? Why does one deserve candles by the community and the other just a somber nod of sympathy?)
The “viewing of the body” has always struck me as a particularly morbid and gruesome practice. A little glimpse into our inevitable future? A sort of fatalist voyeurism? Or do we not believe that Uncle Ned is truly dead? Do we need to see for ourselves? I’ve viewed two corpses at funerals, and I’ve got to say, they bore very little resemblance to the living people they’d once been. Grisly. So don’t view my body. Ugh.
Instead, give me a nice, clean burn. Cremation is the way to go, absolutely. First, it prevents valuable land from being taken up by acres of graveyards. Second, it prevents the inevitable Hollywood “Oh my God, the grave’s been dug up!” moment. And third, a cremated body NEVER BECOMES A ZOMBIE! Ever.
When it comes to the actual funeral portion of our program, I want a wake. I want everyone that knew me gathered in a room getting drunk. I want them to toast my memory, laugh at all the dumb things I’ve done, and mock me for all my flaws. If they can think of any, they’re welcome to applaud my virtues, too. Cry if you want, but have some bloody fun. Oh, and make sure there’s a buffet, too. I love buffets. As a last, glorious benefit, it will be the only potluck where I don’t have to personally bring an “entree, hot” or “dessert, dainty.”
Ah, good times. Too bad I’ll miss it.