With the recent passing of my step-dad (father #3, more on him later), the inevitable barrage of morbid thoughts have been pouring into my brain. I’ve also ratcheted up my macabre humor to previously unheard of levels but that is how I’m personally dealing with his death. Everybody’s got their way.
So for the past month or more, my life (and the lives of my mother and my wife) have been forever altered and big changes are in order.
A short time beyond my dad’s service, something especially wonderful happened that was born, inadvertently, from his passing and something I shall cherish forever.
I have to tell you, I didn’t see this one coming…nobody did. O.K., I have the diet of a 15 year-old and I believe in the power of beer, but other than that who would have guessed that my demise was so imminent? Certainly not my wife, who received a greeting card in the mail two weeks ago.
When I walked in the door that evening, my wife handed me the card and said “you have to read this”.
Addressed to her only, it read: “Dear (wife’s name here), We are sad to learn of the death of (my name here). You our(sp) in our hearts and thoughts. Our Deepest Sympathies, (organization that shall remain nameless)”
I started laughing so hard that tears were running down my face and then we were both convulsing, and somewhere during all that I realized what a wonderful gift this giant faux paux was. We had been wound tighter than a drum through the deathwatch that was my dad’s final week and somehow the sheer absurdity of this card broke the tension right where it needed to be broken; a laugh in the face of our own mortality.
It had always been a dream of mine, and I imagine many other folks, to be able to read your own obit, hear your own eulogy or even attend your own funeral and eavesdrop on all the things people really thought about you. With this card, a bit of that fantasy was coming true. Of course, we felt it responsible to let the card issuing party know that I still had one foot in the land of the living and, of course, they were mortified. But my wife also told them what a tremendous comedic service they had done us (they didn’t quite get that particular point).
I understand why they were embarrassed but for me it was one of the coolest things. It’s amazing how much attention you can generate for the simple act of dying and this card has become the best party favor ever. The one-liners flow like an endless river and imagine the obligations I can get out of.
It seems so improbable that a mistake like this could have been made but the more ethereal theory is that my Dad put his sly sense of humor to work for one more fling from the cosmos. All I know is, it’s working for me.
Dead translates into pure success.
Michael Jackson’s record sales are through the roof, syndication fees for Charlie’s Angels episodes with Farrah Fawcett just went up, Ed McMahon clips from the old Tonight Show are probably being assembled into a triple disc DVD set as we speak, David Carradine ‘Kung Pao Chicken’ stands are opening all over Bangkok, loud TV pitchman Billy Mays is still so loud that he got an even better contract to project from the beyond and I’m going to suck every last ounce of humor from this sympathy card if, well, if it kills me.