Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's Your Funeral

I once saw an exhibit of pictures that were head shots of people who were about to be killed by Pol Pot's henchmen. There were row and row of these agonizing final day documents in a museum basement. I don't remember anything else I saw that day. The people in the pictures knew what fate awaited them and some had even had funerals for themselves before the fact, before they were brought in for the last installment of that horrific ordeal. Their friends wrote poems, brought food. Such a brave fact in the face of such inevitability gave me more pause than even the photographs.

I thought about that fact for a long time, having a funeral that you could see, knowing that your death was just days away. Some of my friends have admitted to me that they fantasize about their funerals more than a wedding. At least I know I'll have a funeral, joked one. I want to know how much people will miss me, said another. I've never thought much about mine -- mostly I want people to have a good time and barring that, eating and drinking until they're sick, lots of music that I like (my last chance to torture friends with particular songs that nobody but me likes!), no going to hell preaching, and I want it to wrap up fast. The new fashion is to have a life celebration, a funeral that you have when you're close to the end. I won't be having one of those, I'm afraid. Unlike the people in the photographs who went to their deaths with their eyes wide open out of the necessity of the times, the camera recording everything, I don't want to know what awaits me on the other side. Got enough to work out on this one, including museum installations of people who didn't have that luxury.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I ain't got much education, but I got some sense." Loretta Lynn

Cocktail Hour

The Muse

1 glass of lemonade
1 shot of melon liqueur
1 shot of raspberry vodka
Serve over ice.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!


The N-word said...

Cremation would've been cheaper.

Nola Rice said...

I got it in the end in Woody Allen's "Match Point."

Chis Wilton said...

I baby-oiled her first.

Chismas in July! said...

Merry Chismas!

Jimmie H. said...

R U experienced?

Jimmie H. said...

Well I am.

Rodney Dangerfield said...

You put the fun in "funeral," if you know what I mean, Michelle. You're no fence-sitter when it comes to death. I can tell by that photo, if you know what I mean.

Cheri said...

Now your blog isn't letting me leave comments.. hah!

Anyways, that drink sounds tasty and I think that I'm going to make one for myself, right now!

Charles Gramlich said...

I've been thinking about having myself stuffed actually. Maybe used as a scarecrow.

the walking man said...

My mother and father had the perfect funeral...none, they donated the cadavers to the U of M school of medicine and that was that no memorial service, no party, nothing but a notice in the paper and done with it.

Personally I think of what you said about the pictures of the soon to be Cambodian dead and I remembered a gallery exhibition I had to install of a young female photographer's work.

It was hung chronologically so you could get the feeling for her progression. The last piece I installed was a body hung from a cord attached to a ceiling beam in a loft, you could see the remote shutter control next to the overturned chair. She wasn't making a statement.

As you went from her college photographs you got a sense of her sadness at the place she was in by the time I positioned that last piece, I had learned from her about never letting the outside in and stay in to the point where your only apparent alternative is self destruction.



I got no education nor sense neither but idiocy has it's own sort of fun.

Susan Miller said...

My grandmother used to sit and listen to a song called, "Farewell Party". And she would cry and say that everyone was going to have a party when she died.

Sad, huh?

But maybe in a sense she was right...I mean in the South there's food, relatives you hardly even know showing up, friends, flowers, music, everybody gets dressed up...it almost sounds like a party to me.

I'm all about the donating thing. Let 'em have what's left.

Cheri said...

Having a party instead of a funeral is the best idea. But despite the last wishes of the dead the family almost always has some horrid service in which everyone cries. When I die I want everyone to get piss ass drunk and tell funny stories about me and laugh. They can cry, as long as they are laughing too.