Saturday, July 28, 2007
Fun with Funerals
Mr. Social Zymurgy challenged me to list the songs I would like played at my funeral. I didn't know what to do with the question so I ignored it as any good cyberstalker would do. But after seeing other blog friends like Bubs and Dale rise to the challenge, I decided I am just as good as they are and am therefore entitled to share my funeral music choices with you, my Gentle Readers.
Mindy June and I were discussing this very topic recently after the funeral of her beloved father, may he rest in peace. Participating in funerals inevitably makes you think about your own, so with that in mind Mindy told me some of her last wishes. She wants to be cremated and then for all of her loved ones to take a portion of her ashes and sprinkle them somewhere they know would make her laugh - like over Ronald Reagan's grave and that sort of thing.
Brilliant idea, and I'd expect nothing less from her.
Whether or not I deserve the honor, I will nonetheless take partial credit for Melinda June's creative decisions with respect to her inevitable demise. This is because back when she and I were 20 year old college students, I decided it would be a good idea to make a list of the people who would attend my funeral if I died right then. I shared the list with Mindy, who was puzzled by it.
"What on earth would make you want to do this?" she asked.
"I think it's important to keep tabs on your life, and this is one way to do it," I replied. "If you can keep enough people around who would feel obligated to attend your funeral, you must be doing pretty well."
"So you're judging the happiness of your life by who will show up after you're dead?"
"Ok. Let me see it." Not being one to waste time asking a lot of unnecessary questions, Mindy rose to the challenge and started helping me refine my funeral attendee list.
"Why is Marla on here?"
"She's a friend of Jon's. I figured she'd go with him and his other friends."
"Yeah, but she hates you. She's still mad about that time you laughed at her sweater vest."
"I wasn't laughing at her sweater vest. I was laughing because KC threw up on you when you were wearing a sweater vest. They always make me laugh now."
"I know that, but she still thought you were laughing at her. She's not going." Marla's name was crossed off. "And why isn't Kirsten from down the hall on here?"
"I don't know - she's the type who would probably go to my wedding if she was invited and had a cute date, but I don't know if she'd get it together enough to make it to a funeral on time."
"You're right. So she'll go on the wedding list. Who is Leo?"
And so we spent the next several hours. Back then it felt like a wise time investment - you could never be too prepared, in my book. You know, that whole Boy-Scout-Motto thing.
Eventually I lost track of my funeral attendee list, which I'm sure has changed substantially over the past 20+ years anyway. But Mindy's recent decision about her own funeral did get me to thinking about mine.
I decided that George can plan whatever traditional funeral he wants for me, with all the attendant wailing and sobbing - the more dramatic the better, in my opinion. But I'm taking charge of the after-party. Here's how it will go:
My funeral after-party will be a piano bar sing-along, show tunes only. The kind that they do at Marie's Crisis - you get a bunch of show-tune obsessed queens and their friends to sing the entire book of a musical, one after the other. Drinking heavily all the while, of course.
I've already enlisted the future services of my not-cousin Marnie, a showbiz professional who runs her own theater. Marnie has been charged with renting out the space, hiring a pianist, making copies of the lyrics to all my favorite shows and gathering everyone together. When they get to "Annie" she'll have some pre-teen girls or drag queens or something act out "Hard Knock Life" with metal buckets and brushes and all that jazz. Of course, the rest of you will be welcome to join in at any time.
My funeral after-party is going to kick major ass. Be sure to keep being my friend so that you will receive an invitation.