John Pageless has “tagged” me with one of those Internet memes: I am supposed to write my own eulogy. Except there’s one problem: as a minister, I do not doubt that by the time I retire I will be so sick of hearing myself preach every week that I will attend the nearest Friends unprogrammed (silent) meeting for worship, so for once I can sit in complete silence on Sunday mornings, and not have to listen to myself or much of anyone else for that matter. Therefore, when I die, there will be no eulogy per se because the memorial service will be silent; and God willing, no one will be moved to speak.
Instead of a eulogy, I suppose I could write an obituary for myself. Before I get to that, though, I have to tell you the story about the old New England Yankee couple. The old man finally up and died, and his wife wanted to complete the arrangements as cheaply as possible: she had him cremated in a cardboard box, scattered what was left in the henhouse to avoid buying a cemetery plot, and managed to talk the local minister into doing the service for free, with no music because that would cost money. But the minister told her that she’d better run a death notice in the newspaper, so she called up the local newspaper. “Got to run a death notice for old Allen,” she said. “The first six words are free, and after that we charge you a dollar a word,” said the person at the newspaper office. Silence for a moment, then she said, “Allen dead, car for sale cheap.”
The local newspaper here in New Bedford doesn’t charge for obituaries, so Carol might be able to do better than that old Yankee woman. Maybe something like this: “Harper dead. Silent meeting for worship at —— Friends meeting, after which we’ll compost his cremains. Don’t send cut flowers, which are imported from South America where they can be grown with pesticides banned in the U.S. using workers who are forbidden to unionize, and then shipped to the U.S. using huge amounts of jet fuel thus worsening global warming. His vintage computer collection, including an orange iBook, an aluminum G4 Powerbook, a Mac Mini, and an original OLPC XO laptop, will be sold off (see listings on craigslist). His collection of vintage dead-tree books, including some 20th C. literary firsts, will also be sold off (craigslist!!). Also selling his ukulele and mountain dulcimer, not worth much & glad to see them go, best offer takes them away.” But Carol probably won’t be able to get anything for my car, unless she can get a junk yard to give her a few bucks for it, so that shouldn’t go into the obituary.
And what about you? If you had to write your own eulogy or obituary, what would you say? Or would you, like me, dodge the whole question?
Update: Based on a couple of email comments, I guess I need to explain that the above is an an attempt at dry New England humor. Death is considered humorous in New England Yankee culture.
Funny. I got the humor. But then, we’re related.
I think your eulogy should be: Danny was fabulous. Let’s dance.