Mostly rambles, few brambles
I Can Live Forever, As Long As I’m Ridiculously Immortalized
Planning my funeral seemed straightforward enough: every friend and every family member—no matter how forgotten or estranged—would arrive at the arena. Once everyone had packed into the twenty thousand seats and the standing-room only sections, we’d start the laser-light eulogy complete with holographic ghosts. Afterwards, the procession could head over to Ponderosa for ribs, shrimp, and kicking off their eternal mourning.
The funeral director sort of sucked his teeth and I told him that it couldn’t be more straightforward. My wife agreed with him and said my idea was unrealistic and expensive, though I think she was just angling to save more and avoid spending her golden years in a nursing gutter. “Okay. Fine.” I told them both, crossing my arms. “Make it Pizza Hut. No appetizers or desserts. Two-topping maximum.” I said that they better strong-arm that greasy casket salesman, too. “Nothing fancy,” and I urged them to skip any casket undercoating. “Just something sturdy something that doesn’t end up on one of those goofy Laughter from Hereafter: Funeral Bloopers.”
Sure, I thought, remembering those tapes, I guess it is a little incredible when a pallbearer trips and half the corpse tumbles out onto the hapless grandson, the embalmed head and right hand falling effortlessly into suggestive positions atop the pinned, shrieking, mortified teen as the farting sound effects crescendo, of course, transcendentally tying it all together with Drew Carey’s narration.
I’d been such a fool. “Okay,” I conceded, waving my hands at my revelation. “Honey, you don’t need to spend your last days in a germ slum,” I told her. She sort of half-smiled. Nothing’s too good for my gal. Really, though, I knew now that I didn’t need lasers or deep-dish to be remembered forever.
“Perhaps I do want to skimp,” I told the director and my wife in my typical maniacal tone. “I’ll be comforted in my final moments knowing my family and I will be immortalized on the next volume of Funeral Bloopers.” They starred at me as I went on and on about the Greatest Hits From The Crypt compilations. I told them to tell that casket jockey dickhead to sell us the cheapest, most bumble-prone model on the market—like a particleboard shell, the kind known to collapse at the slightest bit of moisture, or, maybe, something made entirely of stale breadsticks.
It was imperative that I have a suitable grandson pallbearer by that time, though a stand-in could suffice. Someone preppy who takes himself just a little too seriously but who would be perfect patsy and ripe for a bloodcurdling scream when a tumbling corpse hand narrowly misses his crotch. “That’s just the kind of thing that gets you a Bloopers cover.”
My wife squeezed my hand, saying she didn’t need a spectacle to remember me. No matter what, she added, she would carry me with her forever. “I really would like to be carried with you forever,” I told her and she beamed, thinking that I was finally considering reason. “You’re describing, like, a pose-able taxidermy—a spooky coat rack or realistic scarecrow, right?” She sighed hard. “I could remain a part of the house forever, and I’d be more than happy to hide a spare key or secret scroll in any one of my cavities. Dealer’s choice!”
The funeral director said what I was describing would be illegal. I assured him that he and I would begin a furious letter writing campaign to our congresswoman urging the decriminalization of corpse defilement. “However,” I looked him in the eye again, “if legislation doesn’t change, plan on the videographer and the breadstick casket.”
My wife stormed out; her grief, evidently, taking the form of rudeness.