If you are like me, and I feel for you if you are, you overthink things.
You turn things over and over in your mind to see every possible angle, whether or not they defy the laws of nature or physics. When people offer you a choice, you have to think about options C through Z and an all of the above option. You are the person that notices the tiny detail in the background of your friend’s posted selfie, you are the person that can be run off the rails by a question in the middle of your presentation, and you are the person whose answer to that vaguely worded question may include a reference somewhere to an episode of The Twilight Zone to add even more detail to the possibility that somewhere in there is the answer they wanted.
The reason I bring this up by way of introduction is to preface the following to make sure you are not necessarily thinking that it was written by a crazy person. But I was going to write about funerals.
Everybody will eventually require a decision about how their last event should go, and because it is representing yourself to your friends, enemies, family, and the world for the last time, it has always seemed to me to be an incredible opportunity, because it will be the only time that you can try to throw a party about which you won’t care at all what the attendees think.
When I was a kid in school, a couple of friends and I used to muse about what we would want to do for this event. Morbid? Sure, but as we also thought we were basically going to live forever, we assumed it would be a long time off. I remember that my first idea was to be cremated and the ashes put in the center of a lucite cube in the top of which an ashtray had been carved, with a little brass label nailed into the front side that said “Dad,” that would then be presented along with a ceremonial pack of Lucky Strikes to whichever of my children brought the most box tops or S&H Green Stamps to the funeral. Which would not have worked out for three reasons that I can think of. First, my kids call me “Pop.” Second, none of them smoke cigarettes. Third, they don’t make Green stamps anymore. Plus, who were S&H? Was it Steve and Harry? Smith and Hambone? Why did they think stamps were a good idea? What was in it for them? Did the store make enough money off them to make up for the free clock radio I got for sending in the stamps?
Sorry about that, I got sidetracked.
So this type of thinking went on, until I eventually decided, after many variations including being dumped in the ocean wrapped in sailcloth with cannonballs to weigh me down like a 19th century British Navy sailor, that it was definitely cremation and then something done with the ashes. More economical, I think, and open to many different possibilities. I think probably they should be shot out of a cannon, or wait, made into fireworks. Yes, a sky rocket that goes up and blows up like at a fireworks show. But that means that the funeral has to be at night. That opens up so many new avenues for creepiness. So awesome.
Unless I start to think about caskets. I would think maybe a casket that looks like a tiny submarine or an airplane fuselage. Or a silver one shaped like an airstream trailer. Of course, it would be filled with those cornstarch Styrofoam peanuts or maybe Easter grass. I would be dressed in a spacesuit with the helmet open and then wrapped in a clear plastic bag that has printed on it “Choking Hazard…see?” Also, when you have a goatee, what does your evil twin have? Or are you then automatically the evil twin? In any case, that may be too much trouble, unless the intent is to set the casket adrift in the middle of the ocean and see where it drifts with the proviso that it be buried where it eventually drifts ashore.
Also, I think it should be a costume funeral. Like with people wearing sexy nurse outfits and costumes with two people coming as a cow or horse. With party hats. Maybe lots of Star Trek uniforms and some of the more popular Doctor Whos. Perhaps there could be a costume contest for who gets to fire off the firework.
There should be a bunch of liquor, and it should happen near somewhere where people could either sleep it off or comfortably wait to sober up. There should be food, but along with the normal food, I would want chapulines, things made out of organ meats like pate or just those kinds of chicken hearts that you get in the Brazilian restaurants that are really tasty, and haggis. There could also be pop-tarts, because if you do not like at least one kind of pop-tart secretly in your heart, then you are living a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment you made that judgment…(yeah, there could also be people dressed like Harry Potter.)
And for music, I think a Mariachi band. Because Mariachi band. Of course, during the actual ceremony, they would just be playing softly, like one mournful guitar or two softly plucking away. I will resist the urge to have them randomly go “AI YAI YA YAI, CANTA Y NO LLORES!” at various times during the speakers. But maybe there could be a sound effects guy who could do “ta daaaa!” sounds and sad trombone noises at appropriate moments. What would be cool is if the microphone was fed into the sound system with a list of filters on the speaker’s voice from which they would have to pick one. The choices would be Dalek, Borg, Darth Vader, the guitar voice from Peter Frampton, pure auto-tune, and helium voice.
Of course, there would need to be goodie bags as the people leave, and they would have things in them like a baseball card of me and those Chinese finger prisons, and temporary tattoos that say “I went to Tony’s funeral and all I got was this lousy tattoo.” And candy. Or maybe some of the ashes in a little miniature replica snowglobe of Wrigley Field. (What if nobody comes? How many goody bags would you make? Why do people get tattoos in places they cannot see? Wound prison be so bad if it were in an arcade with a snack bar? Would the prison riots all involve throwing Skee-Balls? Those would totally hurt.)
Anyhow, one thing I definitely want is that as the mourners file out, they pass by the container (or firework, or wait: a ceramic Buddha painted like tarnished copper. Not the fat one but the one that has the beady hair and topknot with its eyes closed and its hand up) and they give me a final five and say “good game.” That probably means there should also be incense. And it would be cool if there were those dry ice machines that would spread a fog of dry ice about a foot deep over the floor of the room so it would look like a Scooby-Doo episode in a swamp.
But possibly, I am overthinking this.
Tony Moir may or may not be one of your favorite writers. It depends. It depends on many things, not the least important is your personal taste in writing. Although if you were to give him a list of requirements, it is possible he could change, or maybe not, I’m not sure. In any case, he is thinking about it.