People often accuse me of being a pessimist. I feel this is entirely unwarranted, and it bothers me that whether I am here in North Adams this week, or flying across the country to see family next week, everywhere I go people will make these unfounded claims.
Since I will soon be on an airplane, I have begun thinking about what kind of funeral I’d like to have.
Actually, it would be more technically correct to say I have continued thinking about what kind of funeral I’d like to have. This is not a new topic for me. And I don’t think this is because I’m particularly morbid, even though my name rhymes with Death. It’s simply because I don’t like funerals.
Obviously, few people really enjoy funerals. Those close to the deceased are missing a loved one, those not so close are awkward attendants, and the one person who would appreciate having all his friends and family gathered together can’t enjoy it. Not to mention that there is a stiff formality which rarely suits the deceased, and oft a speech by someone who didn’t know the deceased, and "the deceased" starts to sound pretty weird after a while, doesn’t it?
Anyway, I’ve never been a mourning person, but it has always seemed to me that funerals ought to be more fun. That’s what they do in New Orleans, they have a big party. Well, I’d hate to have my friends standing around all being somber and getting nothing
That’s why I want to put the fun back in funeral. I want my funeral to be a big party, with lots of cheese for people to eat. (Yes, that’s my definition of a party.) If there’s money left in my bank account, it could be used to fly friends and family out to the funeral, because paying money to go to a funeral combines two things people don’t like.
I want my funeral to be all about things people like. Even if I’m technically dead, my friends should gather and reminisce about the stupid things we used to do together. After all, that’s what we do now when I’m alive. I’d like it to be a combination of a reunion and a funeral. Maybe call it a "Reuneral."
And there will be prizes! A friend of mine gave me this great idea -- all my books unclaimed by my partner or immediate family will be put in a big pile at the funeral, and all guests can take a book to remember me by. It’ll last longer than a flower or scrap of silk. When’s the last time you went to a funeral and got prizes?
Most importantly, I want the event to have people laughing, not crying. Rather than reading some tired old religious passages, or dusting off platitudes about my time on earth, I want lots of my old columns read at my funeral. I want everyone in attendance to be mocking me for my Crunchy Crawfish Surprise, or my T-shirt curtains.
The crux of it is, I deeply love my friends, and only want the best for them. It would bother me tremendously if they had been forced to dress up, schlep somewhere inconvenient, and stand around being somber on my account. I know I would rest easier imagining that on the occasion of my demise, they’d all at least get a good party out of it and spend the day laughing.
And selfishly, a comedian always wants an audience for his work.
Seth Brown is a local humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse," and is not dead yet. His work appears weekly in the Transcript, and weakly on www.RisingPun.com.