In America, death is difficult. In fact, so difficult that dying is probably the easy part. Let me explain.
In the American way of death, we go through five vital and important steps:
FIRST â€“ Verification: They gotta actually make sure that you ARE dead. I suspect that they poke you with sharp objects and tell dirty jokes to see if they get a response. For me, all that theyâ€™d need is feathers. Iâ€™m ticklish.
SECOND â€“ Preparation: Once theyâ€™ve decided that you really are dead, they haul you off to the mortuary. This is place where very sympathetic and tactful men pull out your organs, drain out your blood, fill you with stuffing, pickle you in formaldehyde and generally make you look better than youâ€™ve ever looked. Iâ€™m hoping to avoid getting pickled, but if I canâ€™t avoid it, Iâ€™d like a little extra tan – if no one minds.
THIRD â€“ Invitation: Everybody that you knew is invited to see your new look just before they plant you in the ground. This is usually several days after youâ€™ve died, to give everyone the chance to get there. They will then get the opportunity to stare at you and wonder how they clipped your nose hair â€“ or if youâ€™d had the courtesy to do that yourself. It is traditional for everyone to say that you look like you are sleeping. Notice that they would not appreciate it if they heard you snore.
FOURTH â€“ Eulogy: Everyone gathers in a tastefully decorated chapel, where they hear what a wonderful guy you were and share some of their favorite moments. And no, I do not want everyone to hear about the time when my cat ran off with theâ€¦ No, no, forget that I said anything.
FIFTH â€“ Planting: They carry your much abused body out to the cemetery and gather everyone around and say some more tasteful words. Now, I donâ€™t know about you, but Iâ€™ve never actually seen them LOWER the casket into a grave. I would hope that at least someone would stick around and make sure that they do that. I will be annoyed to find myself resurrected in the local garbage dump. I have never known banana peel or tomato paste to improve either my complexion, or my disposition.
One more point about death: everyone wants something profound and memorable on their grave stones. Me? I want something on my tombstone that reflects a hope for the future, so it should go something like this:
I WANT OUTTA HERE, NOW!
Next time, The Way of Death in Israel
Thanks for everything Grandpa. Weâ€™ll miss you.