Monday, January 14, 2008

Explain The Dead Thing To Me Again

My father used to say, “Live every day as if it's your last.” So does that mean I’d be picking out a coffin, a headstone, and talking to a mortician? Or that I’d wake up thinking Today is my last day on earth? Then the next day I’d get up and say what? “Shit, I just blew yesterday.”

I’d rather be cremated than have a memorial service but I was raised Catholic so that means that when I die there will be a wake, something I’m never going to be again. And why is it that when you go to a funeral, afterwards people ask you how it was. What do they think you're going to say? “Everyone loved my dress; I saw lots of old friends and met a really great guy.” It's a funeral; it's always going to suck.

And have you noticed that only the fabulous people die? He was always smiling and was such a beautiful person. Everyone loved him. Just once I'd like to hear, Well good riddance. Serious B.O., didn’t flush and never returned things. And when someone dies too young you always hear, She was a ray of sunlight, never hurt anyone's feelings and was loved by all. I guess that means I'm going to live to be a trillion. They say that when you die there's a bright light, ethereal music and all your dead relatives line up to greet you. So now you're trapped in eternity with people you didn't even want to spend Thanksgiving with? And apparently your whole life flashes in front of you. I’m going on the record right now that I refuse to revisit any of my exes, geometry and anything from the 70’s. So if anyone’s listening, please delete those items from my Instant RePlay Book.

Around children, parents use euphemisms for death because they don't want to upset them. When I was a kid my mother and father said they were putting my dog to sleep. And all I remember was that one night they went to his bed and I never saw the dog again. I didn't let my parents near my bed for weeks.

If you’re really ill, they have to put you on life support. Wouldn't it be smarter if we got life support earlier on in life, when we really needed it? Like we’d get $62,000 to pay off our subprime mortgages so we wouldn't have had that stress-induced heart attack and be intubated and lying on our death-beds in the first place.

I think the reason so many die during a disaster is that they save the wrong people. Women and children first. Then the elderly. I’m thinking specifically of the Titanic. They put the women, children, and old people in the rafts. And left behind the only group who had the strength to row them. The men. I can just imagine another ship passing by and their captain saying, “What's that noise? Crying kids? We're outta here.”

Everyone knows that you should only evacuate women and children first if there are spiders and bogeymen on board. And old people? How long will it take them to get to land when they can't drive faster than 18 mph on a freeway? I say we light them up and use them as flares. They're just going to get back to shore and run us over with their 1978 Lincoln Continentals anyway. I'm glad the captain had the good sense to go down with the Titanic. If he lived, what were they going to do, transfer him to the Hindenburg?

I don’t like all the phrases we use as a substitute for the word ‘died.’ He’s in a better place. If he was truly in a better place, wouldn’t we all be trying to get there? He’s gone to his reward. So that’s what you get for spending your whole life fighting with spouses, having stoner kids, working a shit job and paying bills? Death? They kicked the bucket. Unless you’re talking about Jack and Jill, fine. Otherwise? Dead. Dead. Dead.

Some people take ads out in their local newspapers to commemorate the anniversary of the death of their loved one. "For John: his first birthday in heaven.” It seems a little strange to me. How do they know which newspapers are delivered in heaven? And I’m not knocking heaven; it might be okay, although there's probably nothing on TV there either.

End of chat.


  1. Well, if there IS television in heaven, I'm betting it's all been censored. No "Deadwood" for you!

  2. My personal favorite is the term "lying in state." Presidents "lie in state," but Jimmy Joe Lipschitz just doesn't. Another favorite is "transitioned," as in "Miss Ida Pearl Hicks transitioned on Sat, Jan 12th." Pretty serious transisiton, I say.

  3. Well, once again I have managed to cover myself with coffee laughing too hard.
    At the hospital we use the term "Expired" when someone has died. As if we all have expiration dates stamped on our asses or somewhere.
    My grandma died when E was 4 years old and I told her the truth. We were at the funeral and some of my family overheard me talking with E and they pulled me aside and told me not to say "dead" in front of E's cousin,also 4.Apparently they told her that grandma had just gone on a long vacation! That's just mean and crazy.
    I will be cremated and the 3 or 4 people who like me in this world, will hopefully get together and get drunk and talk about what a fabulous person I was.

  4. Because we live out in the boondocks, we encounter a fair number of critters on the road who have "gone to sleep" ... a real flat and messy sleep, and they're usually aided into slumber with the help of a fast-moving Peterbilt late at night. Which is to say that my kids know what DEAD is. 75% of their grandparents are dead, several dogs/birds/fish we've owned are now dead and yet the kids seem to still be relatively healthy emotionally and mentally despite having that knowledge.

    Finally, I'm with ya on that living forever thing because if only the good die young, I've got a REALLY long time left to go.

  5. I guess I am lucky to have the family i have ... we drink and tell jokes at funerals. Of course, we drink and tell jokes at weddings too. Your right about everything. Very funny.

  6. Anonymous8:20 AM

    I'm quite fond of the euphemism "Harold is no longer with us".

    Not sure if he was fired or died...I guess it really doesn't matter at that point.

  7. Have you seen the stickers on the back of cars, "In loving memory of..."? That's weird. And they're always crappy cars. I'd at least like a Porsche memorial.

  8. D2, they probably only show reruns of Heaven Can Wait.

    merecat, never heard that one before.

    gm, I'll have to look what's stamped on my ass. Probably a hand print.

    jami, let's celebrate our trillionth birthday together, okay?

    anne, that's the only thing that should happen at a funeral.

    conundrum, like Harold just wandered away!

    diesel, I've never seen that bumper sticker. Why can't people just carry a vial of the deceased's blood around their neck, like normal people?

  9. Anonymous10:48 AM

    My great-grandmother lived to be 103. She was drinking her afternoon tea and apparently it "went down the wrong pipe," causing her death. When we were kids we said "She choked and croaked." The adults thought we were blasphemous. Meanwhile, I am saving my most gorgeous spike heels and if I'm either buried or cremated, those fabulous shoes will be on my feet. Wherever you're going, you need to look good...
    Martha Jane

  10. LOL! You could perform this - it's perfect!

  11. Anonymous11:54 AM

    This is hilarious!


  12. gm beat me to it, but my favorite is also, he/she expired. really? Like spoiled milk.

  13. This had me laughing out loud at my desk. I don't like when people say that someone 'passed.' A test? Gas? A slow car on the freeway?

    "First birthday in heaven"...Oh my god, that's ... what is that?

  14. I once had a person tell me that someone 'went home' when I inquired about them. It took me a while to figure out why they looked at me strangely when I said, "Great, I really need to give her a call. I still have that number."

  15. mj, choked and croaked, love it.

    madmad, things you write often don't translate to standup, too wordy!

    Abeyta, thanks.

    erika, many people live past their expiration date, if you get my drift.

    Jess, I guess some people can't move on?

    shieldmaiden, ok, that's the worst one I've heard next to the bumper sticker one.

  16. gm, you remind me of my 5th birthday. My great-grandpa died and mom and dad told us flat out he was dead and he wasn't coming back. (We lived in the boondocks, too.)

    The only problem was that my grandpa had a brother, that lived in the same town as us, that looked just liked him. So for the longest time I thought dead meant that the person has decided they hate their family and were just cutting off all ties. And if you ran up to them in a store and yell "Grandpa!" they would just look at you funny and walk away.

    And that explains so much as to why I am so screwed up.

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