To Life! and, er… Death!

My grandmother died recently and her funeral was very nice. Except for the iridescent pink coffin. Otherwise it was very touching. The singing was nice, sort of a barber-shop quartet done acappella. I was sufficiently disturbed by the pink coffin, however, to recognize that I should leave instructions for my own burial. So here they are.

First, please do not embalm my body. I do not like the ideal of being plasticized after death, although this will require you to bury me quickly. I suppose this means that the people who attend the funeral will have to ask for time off work at the last minute, so if some people who would be expected to attend are not able to do so, I will understand. Although it doesn’t really matter if I understand because I will be dead so it is perfectly acceptable for people who are unable to take time off work at the last minute not to come. Of course I may feel differently as a dead person and there is a risk that I will haunt people who do not at least try to take some time off to attend the funeral; but, we will have to deal with that issue on a case by case basis. It is acceptable to wash my body, although I generally bathe daily and I cannot imagine that I will not have bathed on the day that I die, so if I am already clean it is fine with me if you do not wash me unnecessaril!y, although you will probably want to wash my hair at least, as it is very oily and if I die during the night it will probably be disheveled from all the tossing and turning and writhing around, which might happen as I will probably not feel very good when I am about to die.

Second, please dress me in a white, buttoned shirt, black slacks, and my black felt clogs. I’m not sure whether I want to be wearing a tie as I will be dead for quite a while and ties are not very comfortable; but, if you feel that a tie is appropriate I prefer something with black and white diagonal stripes with maybe a small stripe of color, or some polka dots, to brighten things up. A black jacket might be appropriate as well as I usually keep my jacket on when I wear a suit, and I imagine it will be cold under ground.

Third, I have very particular ideas about the coffin. A plain pine box is what I prefer, but not a triangular, vampire coffin. I would like a nice plain rectangle. I measured the bookshelves in my front hallway and they will work if you are in a hurry or if there is not any money because I spent it all because I knew I was about to die. The coffin should be very plain, but not so plain that it is tacky. It should be tasteful plain. If you are not sure what I mean, then you can look at the bookshelves in my front hallway. You will have to imagine what it looks like without the books because there are a lot of books and I do not want to take them all off of the shelves just because you do not know the difference between tacky and tasteful.

In any event, the coffin should be made out of some kind of wood, with a nice stain preferably, although I do not care for varnish because I heard that it is made out of bird droppings and horse urine. I do not want to be buried in bird droppings and horse urine. That may be estrogen, though, and not varnish. If that is the case then I guess that varnish is okay. I also like the idea of pretty hinges for the top. It does not need to be lined as I will be dead and will not be able to enjoy the comfy padding. I would like to be wrapped in my red and green plaid blanket that my grandmother brought with her from Scotland on her last trip to Europe with her friend Maxine. This may be controversial as the blanket could have sentimental value for my surviving family, so do not tell them where the blanket came from. I suppose if they ask you will have to tell them because I do not want you to lie; in which case any red and green plaid blanket from Scotland that has no partic!ular sentimental value will suffice. Do not give the blanket that I wanted to be buried with, but was not able, to the person who creates the trouble, however, as I do not wish to reward anyone for disturbing my funeral plans.

The coffin should probably not be open because I will not have been embalmed and may be starting to smell badly by the time of the funeral; and even if I am not, it might turn out that you buried me in a coffin that is varnished because you thought that it was estrogen that is made out of horse urine and not coffin varnish but then you find out at the funeral that varnish is made out of horse urine because one of the guests is a carpenter, so that horse urine varnish smell may have gotten into my clothes and I would be smelly anyway even if my corpse is not rotting yet. Anyway, you will have to leave the top on the coffin, unless I died sitting up and it took a really long time to find me and they could not get me into a laying down position because rigor mortis started before they found me. I do not know what you will have to do in that case. That could be a problem.

You may place of picture of me in my youth on top of the coffin. Do not bury the picture with the coffin, though. Give it to the person who looks the saddest that I am dead. I know that nowadays people are supposed to laugh at funerals and celebrate the dead person’s life; but, I do not wish for people to be happy that I am dead, even if it is only because they are happy remembering my life. My survivors can be happy remembering my life later, of course, if they want, but I prefer that they be sad about my being dead at the funeral. It is customary to have a flower arrangement on top of the coffin; but, I never have liked to go along with the crowd. I do not mean to criticize people who do go along with the crowd by having flower arrangements on top of their coffins; but, I do not want to go along with the crowd, especially since after I am dead most of the crowd will still be alive and we will not have much in common anymore. So please place an arrangement of pink an!d blue cotton candy, and lollipops on top of the coffin. (They should be the big round lollipops with spirals of color, not something small like tootsi-pops. I like tootsi pops but they do not seem appropriate for a funeral arrangement as nobody will probably want to take the time to figure out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsi pop at the funeral as I will not be embalmed, or my coffin might be covered in horse urine and the smell will probably be bothering the attendees at that point and they will be anxious for the burial to proceed.) After the coffin is buried, please distribute the cotton candy and lollipops to needy fat people.

Third, I am unsure what music I would like to be played at the service. Everyone knows that the Supremes are my favorite singing group, and I think my favorite Supremes song is My World Is Empty Without You. That would be appropriate for a funeral, although it never reached No. 1, which I do not understand because Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone reached No. 1 and I never have like that song. My World may be too upbeat for a funeral, though, so if it seems more appropriate any old spiritual will do (though I prefer Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen, or Trouble Of The World). If you choose a spiritual it should be a good quality recording by Mahalia Jackson. Although I know many fine singers, I prefer for my funeral dirge to be sung by a professional and not a fine singer that nobody ever heard of; but, since Mahalia Jackson is also dead she will not be available to appear in person and it will have to be a recording.

Fourth, in keeping with my decision to utilize candy for decoration rather than flowers, I would like the attendees to be provided with packets of Skittles candies, (not the big bags you can buy at the grocery store; but, the small snack size pouches. You should be able to buy these cheap in bulk at Sam’s) and after the coffin is lowered into the earth please instruct the guests to scatter their skittles over the coffin as a sign of their love. (although make sure that they understand not to just drop the packets onto the coffin. They should open the packets and then scatter the actual skittles into the vault. Also please watch to make sure that the children attending do not eat the funeral Skittles as there will only be enough to scatter on the coffin and it does not seem appropriate to eat the funeral decorations. You should probably sit down beforehand and talk to the children about this as they may not be paying attention at the funeral service itself.) I suppose some sort of trash receptacle should be provided to dispose of the Skittles bags after the skittles have been scattered, although I would prefer that it not be a big aluminum alley trash can. Preferably you will use a nice modern kitchen trash can with a lever that you can push with your foot to make the top pop up. Of course you will have to figure out what to do with the trash can after the service and you may be upset depending on whether they play My World Is Empty Without You or Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen so I suggest a raffle, with the trash can as the prize. (You should probably put this in the obituary so that people drive cars large enough to hold the trash can if they win the raffle.)

Finally, the service should be simple, but very sad. I prefer that it be limited to a recitation of some famous prayer that everybody will know and the reading of Psalm 119. This should ensure that everyone will be very upset in case they are not that upset about me being dead because Psalm 119 is really long. It should be read by someone with a nice voice, or possibly chanted.

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