Saturday, August 22, 2015

Instructions for A Hundred Years from Now

You may recognize the name of loyal Drunkard Pablo. He also happens to be an IRL co-worker and good friend of mine.

Pablo just lost his mom to a combination of cancer, heart issues, and advanced age.

Guys, I'm pleased and also humbled to say that he took such good care of his mom in her final days.

He conveyed strength, and dignity, and compassion to a degree that truly honored a long, complex, and sometimes difficult mother-son relationship to its very end.

Literally, I can only imagine what that relationship is like.

Yesterday was her memorial service. Although I knew her only through Pablo's many anecdotes, of course I attended. For him. After all, these things are for the living, as the dead are, you know, dead.

Unless, you know, you think Led Zeppelin
were really on to something.
It was a lovely, generically but distinctly Christian service. Pablo's Mom was an active Red Hatter, so there was a large delegation of older ladies wearing purple and red in attendance, in addition to those of us who were there to support Pablo.

And then there was Pastor Jeff of no fixed but obviously Protestant affiliation, who presided over the service. Or as I think of him, the Reverend Smoove. This guy was smooth. Like, creamy-peanut-butter smooth. Nutella smooth, if you will.

You know that's smooth.
He was good at what he did, which was selling the religion. Having abandoned religion myself, it could be that in ignoring his message (in a nutshell, "The Bible says you go to Heaven when you die [unless you don't], and by God you better believe it"), I fixated on his performance. Which certainly wasn't his intention. It's like forgetting about the concept of "magic" and just watching the illusionist's hands to see exactly how he tricks you. It destroys the illusion, it annoys the illusionist, and frankly you lose out on the enjoyment you could have had if you'd just suspended disbelief.

Don't stop believin'. Unless, you know, you do.

Anyway, Pablo is even less religious than I am, but he still put together a heartfelt, touching, and quite religious memorial service for his mom, because that's what would have pleased her. And I was moved by the outpouring of love and happy memories her friends presented, even if it was much more Goddy in nature than I would have preferred. All in all, it was a mournful yet joyous celebration of a good woman who had passed on.

Seriously, I can only ask for the same kind of consideration when it's my time.

In the end, we are naught but a cheap prize for the side that wins.

The point is, I started thinking about my own inevitable demise. In 100 years or more, since I fully intend to live to be 150. What kind of memorial service will I want?

First, I absolutely do not want to be placed in an expensive wooden box and buried underground. Think of how much affordable housing we could build if we just reclaimed all the land occupied by cemeteries in this country. 

Guys, yer bones aren't going to Heaven.
You're wasting the land My Dad gave you. Assholes.
Burn me up and use my ashes to fertilize a tree, already. If there is such a thing as a soul, it doesn't depend on some corporation making money off a plot of land to store my cold, dead body.

Second, do not hold a religious service for me. Not a Christian service, not Buddhist, not Pastafarian, not anything. Do NOT mention Heaven or Jesus when you talk about my death. I died, because everybody dies. I don't know what happens to our consciousness after death, and I don't want you to speculate on my behalf.

Third, I want music at my service. No hymns. No contemporary Christian songs, which should be banned by law. I want you to play "Dead Flowers" by the Rolling Stones. "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" by Buddy Holly. "Good Feelings" by the Violent Femmes. "Mercy" by Muse. "And When I Die" by Laura Nyro. Maybe Johnny Cash's version of  "Hurt." 

Fourth, only circulate pictures of me when I was young, thin, attractive, and happy, or I will haunt your ass until the end of time.

Finally, be happy. Wherever I end up, life goes on, and that's a good thing.

Hugs to Pablo for his loss. You rock. Let's all celebrate the time we've got in his honor.


  1. Thoughts to Drunkard Pablo. Your mum sounds like she was a brilliant woman for raising a man like you.

  2. Thoughts to Drunkard Pablo. Your mum sounds like she was a brilliant woman for raising a man like you.

  3. What's a Red Hatter? Not the Tibetan lamaist sect I suppose?

    My own wish is to lie decomposing at the bottom of a shallow sea, where lobsters and crabs and small fish can strip the rotting flesh from my bones and scatter me along the coral. Wow!


      Generally older ladies who get together and do/dress/act up as they please without worrying what others think (except that there is conformity in their non conformity now). "Uniform" is red hats and purple dresses, even though they don't "match" (because who cares what you think?).

  4. Cancer sucks. So does dying, but I'm sorry that Pablo's mother had to fight the crab in addition to her other issues. My sympathies to Pablo.

    And while I don't believe it I have to say the idea of the afterlife does have its appeal. Of course I'd go to Hell, but I think of it as detention. It may be miserable but at least all the cool kids are there.

  5. It doesn't really matter what anybody does with me after I'm dead.

    I read about this school that takes bodies of people who gave their bodies to science and basically lets them rot in the woods so they can studdy how bodies decompose.

    That's fine.

    By that time, I will be beyond caring.


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