I recently read that one of the ways you can make your death easier on loved ones is to let them know what kind of funeral or memorial service you want in advance.
What a stellar idea!
It makes perfect sense to take the guesswork out of funeral preparations. So, dear loved ones, you may consider this my official sepulchral request.
Firstly, my funeral should be two things that most funerals are not: cheap and fun. Just because I’m dead doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a good time. As for the cost, everyone knows the death industry is an enormous, inflated flimflam machine. Take heed, my beloved grieving widow, and do not let some sleazy funeral director exploit your diminished capacity and coerce you into buying a bunch of overpriced crap I certainly won’t be needing: not the diamond studded pall bearer gloves, nor the laminated package of 1,000 prayer cards with micro perforation, the Cyprian torchiere lamps with pinkneck bulbs and ruby vigil glass. And for god’s sake, do not let him up-sell you on the 20-gauge, gasketed, stainless steel Essex Monarch casket with the otter-fur inner lining and central air conditioning! Just put me in an unfinished plywood box with my New York football Giants blanky and call it a day.
On second thought, go ahead and cremate me. Not only is this the cheapest method, but we won’t to have worry about a wake or a traditional funeral, even. Fuck those icky corpse viewings and morose pity parties where some silly preachers try to give meaning into my death. Instead, put my ashes in a tip jar and organize a little gathering that joyfully commemorates my life. Call it the Edwin Decker Memorial Shindig and throw it in my front yard with nary a funeral director in sight.
For the shindig, I would like Mojo Nixon (if he’s still alive) to be the officiating cleric. Have him deliver the “sermon” in his traditional uniform of cutoff blue-jean shorts, knee-high tube socks and trademark gas station attendant’s shirt. When finished, Mojo is to perform “Are You Drinkin’ with Me Jesus” while everyone raises glasses and joins the chorus:
“Are you drinking, with me Jesus / I can’t see you very clear / If you’re drinking, with me Jesus / won’t you buy a friend a beer!?”
Next is the eulogy. Of course, I realize it would be somewhat narcissistic to write my own eulogy, so I’ve put together a few bullet points for the eulogizer to touch upon:
The eulogy should start with the typical stuff about what an awesome guy I was, polite, friendly and, um, un-opinionated. Naturally, I expect you to speak about my philanthropic endeavors (“Ed frequently donated to various strippers’ causes”) and how I was a dedicated environmentalist (“He always crushed his beer cans before throwing them out the car window”) and that I was an activist for children’s causes (“Ed always said ‘Yes’ when kids asked him to buy booze outside of liquor stores”).
After the memorial shindig, it’s time for the Ed Decker Memorial Ash Scattering and Pub Crawl. Basically, I want you to visit all the bars where I’ve bartended or boozed over the years and inconspicuously deposit a small tuft of my ashes, preferably behind the jukebox, in each. You will need to designate an ashmaster–someone to stay (relatively) sober during the pub crawl to ensure that the remains are dispensed safely, discreetly and don’t get confused with the drugs (although, if some brave soul is drunk enough to want to smoke or snort my ashes, by all means).
Lastly, I’d like to say a few words about grief. I’m sure some of you will wonder when it will be acceptable to stop mourning my death. Well, wonder no longer. I have composed a series of guidelines as to how you should mourn my death, based on your relationship to me.
Acquaintances and Regular readers of this column: Do not be too upset about my passing. Just think about me with a slight melancholy. Perhaps a few times a week you just, you canstop what you’re doing, stare vacantly out a window and think, I sure miss that Ed, or something like that.
Friends: There should be a period of three weeks when my friends routinely experience feelings of great loss. You should have at least one serious meltdown, a Why’d it have to be Eddie?! kind of thing. Also, it’d be great if one of my musician friends could write a song about my travails. Obviously, it would be somewhat narcissistic of me to write your song for me for you, so I’ve only written the intro and chorus. It’s a remake of “Hallelujah,” the Jeff Buckley version:
“I heard there was a man in town
Who was big and strong and bought the rounds
But you don’t care for Rumplemintz, now do ya?
He was kind and good, and smart and hip
Helped kids and strippers, a philanthropist
The bartenders cried when he walked in, “Hallelujah.”
Then repeatedly howl “Hallelujah” in agony, like grave diggers with herniated discs.
Family: You should have a general aura of all-consuming sorrow for, say, six to 12 weeks, depending on the relationship. I don’t want to be greedy or anything, but if you could just be totally and utterly depressed for at least six weeks, that’d be fine. After that, just think of me with warmth and melancholy.
Wife: Ah, my sweet beloved, mournful widow–don’t even think about dating anybody for 18 months. I swear to Christ, if you do, I will sell my soul to Satan so I can return to Earth as a demon and glut the entrails of anyone you date.