I know, greatest blog title ever. You’re welcome.
This is a major departure from my usual subjects of music or stories from the classroom. Still, it’s something that’s been on my mind a lot lately so I thought it was time to unleash. Apologies in advance to those about to be offended.
Alrighty then. Let’s take a deep breath and begin with my list of dos and don’ts of dying.
For the love of all that is holy, if I die in a fiery car crash do not put up one of those roadside memorials at the scene of my demise. For the life of me I don’t understand or comprehend why people do this. Why would I want flowers, signs, notes, teddy bears and God-knows-what-else at the place where my head went through the windshield or steering column went through my oral cavity? Thanks but no thanks.
Do not dedicate a sporting event to me or say that you won a game for me. Doesn’t it sort of cheapen a life when we use it as inspiration to win a basketball game? Good Lord. And don’t point to the sky in honor of me after a big touchdown run or game-winning shot either. Besides, you might be pointing in the wrong direction. The same goes for black armbands or buttons with my picture on there. On the other hand, a really cool t-shirt might be nice. Note to self: Design “Shoe Death Party” t-shirts post-haste.
Do not get on my Facebook page and talk to me as if I’m still here. That’s just creepy. Telling a funny or inspirational story (if there is such a thing) about me is fine, but please, no “Dave, a butterfly landed on my knee today and I knew it was you paying me a visit” or some such nonsense like that. I mean, really? On the other hand, depending on the person that butterfly on the knee might just be me after all.
Don’t go overboard with the sympathy thing. There’s nothing worse than somebody who barely knew the deceased standing there wailing as if they were best friends. On a related note, if a beautiful 35-ish lady nobody knows shows up and seems a little overwrought at my passing, ignore her.
Do not show up at my funeral if you didn’t like me when I was alive and kickin’. I shall have a list of my enemies posted at the door with strict instructions for my friend Tom to beat the shit out of you if you do. And he will do it.
Do let me go. If I’m on my death-bed with no hope of making it for God’s sake let me go. Pull the damn plug as they say. I’m a firm believer in assisted suicide in these cases. Just let everyone say their goodbyes, whisper to me how awesome I was in life, pat me on the head, go have an adult beverage and tell funny stories about all the stupid things I did in my life. It saves money, time and grief for all involved, most importantly me.
Do cremate me, please. I’ve never been comfortable (but who really is?) with the ritual of lining up to view the dead body. Despite what people always say, the deceased never looks good. They look dead. And tell the truth. Aren’t you always slightly afraid the person’s gonna open their eyes and look right at you? If you didn’t before you will now. Jeebus. Anyway, just put a really flattering photo of me, hopefully with drink in hand, smilin’ and looking good from back in my heyday. Wait. Did I ever have a heyday? Never mind. Then just take my ash-filled urn with you to all the big parties or bars you go to, sit me on the middle of the table, and clink your bottle on me from time-to-time. Just don’t get drunk and leave me at the bar. I’d hate to end up in the dumpster behind The Cozy.
Please play good music at my memorial (Is memorial the right word? It won’t be a viewing because there’ll be nothing to view. A wake? The mind reels). The Beatles, R.E.M., Zevon, a little Alice Cooper, The Eels, you know the drill. No “church music” if you will. No offense, folks, but everyone will be a little down anyway so “Bringing in the Sheaves” ain’t gonna help. Besides, I don’t know what a sheave is so I don’t want it brought in. Alice’s “Muscle of Love” on the other hand . . .
Do let my friends stand up and say a few words about me. I’m talking about the friends who have loved me unconditionally, even when I’ve been an uncaring ass who has made some incredibly stupid life decisions, usually involving women. You know who you are, and I know you’ll speak the truth. More importantly, you’ll know what to leave out.
I really can’t think of a way to wrap this up, other than to say I hope to hell it won’t be relevant for a long time. It reminds me of that George Carlin quote when he was on Carson back in the day. George was 39 at the time and Johnny asked him what he wanted people to be saying about him in a hundred years. Carlin’s answer? “I want them to say ‘That man is 139-years old.’” My feelings exactly. If I do go, though, I hope it’s quick, maybe like one of my favorite poets, Dylan Thomas. His last words:
“I’ve had 18 straight whiskies……I think that’s the record.”
That would be my second favorite way to go.