Sunday, May 6, 2012

Putting the Fun Back in Funeral

Dear John: Had a great time at your funeral. Wish you were there. Well, I mean of course you were there, but you were out of commission. Quite a bit better behaved than you normally would be at such a function. All these people – me included – got up to talk about you and you never had a chance for rebuttal. It was sweet revenge for years of being drawn into discussions, debates, arguments, and headlocks with you (most of which I lost, particularly the headlock incident).

I like funerals anyway. I always learn a lot about people that I didn’t know. Like you wanting to learn to play the bagpipes. Hopefully I was able to shed some light on your life and personality that others hadn’t been aware of. Don’t worry, I didn’t talk about the time at the lake or many other stories that would have required indecorous language or self-incrimination. Just some good times we had and good advice you gave me once. Once.

The other things I like about funerals are that you get to drive through red lights on the way to the cemetery and the food afterwards is always good. The only negative thing was that I left without having procured a date. You’d think someone there would have been willing to comfort a mourner.

But all in all I appreciated the details. Like the plain pine box you now call home. No sense getting one of those expensive silk-lined numbers; you’d just burn a hole in it with your cigarette. Also liked reconnecting with people from the past. You had a knack of changing jobs, pursuing and then rejecting new interests (hello, bagpipes?), and moving with some frequency. But one thing you never altered or abandoned were your friends. You didn’t just keep in touch with people, you kept involved with them.

So now you’re gone, which means there’ll be much more room around the table at the Tahiti lounge. We’ll miss you a lot, but we’ll also talk about you a lot. It’s like you’ll still be there, except you won’t chip in on the bill. Kind of a win-win, if you ask me.

Anyway, since you’ll never reach the age of 49, I’ll tell you what you’re missing. For one thing, your friends start dying. That part’s kind of a drag. But the good thing is that life goes on, as in your barely three-week-old granddaughter. If she hadn’t been born prematurely, you never would have had the chance to hold her. Early comings, early goings. Somehow things work out – if not for the best, then at least for the pretty good.

In closing, it’s not goodbye, John (though this is a Dear John letter); it’s ‘til we meet again. Then you can rebut me for eternity. As long as you buy the drinks.

So long, buddy. Thanks for the laughs.


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