Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wake me when it's over

I visited a cemetery the other day. In the service of an odd job (a job which didn’t involve a shovel, but thank you for asking).

Tombstones rarely speak of pain and pleasure, they just sing the praises of the eternal snooze. No details, of course; no promises that a given individual would feel this way or that the next morning. Maybe it’s a legal thing. If they did get more specific, maybe they'd have to go the Cialis route and give us the downside, something equivalent to the image of an erection lasting more than four hours.

Death holds little romance for me. We’re not friends. He stakes a claim WAY over there, I stake mine way over here. I don’t let him look in my windows.

Death and I only have four significant humans and six dogs in common. And I avoid any party or reunion where he’ll be present.

I don’t respect death, I don’t like his manners, I don’t like his breath. I don’t want to dance with him or see his door.

I most particularly mistrust his advertising campaign.

Rest in peace sounds okay on the surface, but everything in moderation.

Sure, sleep; take 10, 30 or even 50 years. As much as you need. In the case of extreme illness or old age, take a century, if necessary.

But the point is, don't go overboard. Don't sign off on the perpetual rest contact. Regardless of what the brochure may say, that ain't rest, that’s nothing.

When my time comes, I've done some homework and plan to negotiate.

The idea of ghosts has never frightened me. I find in them a ray of hope.

“Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest so long as I live on! I killed you. Haunt me, then! Haunt your murderer! I know that ghosts have wandered on the Earth. Be with me always. Take any form, drive me mad, only do not leave me in this dark alone where I cannot find you.” Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights

All right, so in year 2220, Heathcliff's neediness might prove a little wearing. I still say it's better than nothing.

Or, with a little bit of luck, I just might get this instead.


  1. Me, I'm always struck by the lives that were led. Admittedly, I don't have much to go on from a just a gravestone but when I see a date of death from before I was born, sometimes *waaay* before I was born or born the same year as me, well, my metaphysical/philosophical juices just go into overdrive.

    Some gravestones suggest death of very young men in WW II or Vietnam. Some dates of birth and death are the same day and have little toys and balloons around them.

    Some confirm, with a little arithmatic on my part, that they've been dead longer than they were alive which to me qualifies as being really, really dead.

  2. I recently heard a writer say something like, "I've never been able to love death the way I'm supposed to." What the hell was that supposed to mean?

  3. Fantastic post!
    I so enjoyed reading this.

  4. On the whole I'd rather be in Philadelphia. WC. GG.

  5. Dying to know what the Devil's advertising campaign is? Or maybe not...
    Me, I'm going to become a Buddhist before I die. That way, I can come back for a few more precious moments of consciousness - but I'll be lowlife, because I've not been very good. Probably a pantry moth. Karin, what would you come back as? And is it the same as what you'd want to come back as?

  6. Death is much more palatable with a humorous twist. And now I want to see "Topper." Coming back as a ghost could be tedious but I'll agree with you it's better than nothing.

    Bellis, I think you'll do better than a pantry moth.

  7. I agree, K. Grave markers stir the imagination. I only have issues with Mr. Scratch himself. Oh, and maybe I also have problems with the family plots -- the ones that have spaces available.

    Banjo, something lost in context, or a Plath wannabe?

    Earl, no frills.

    Hi Lisa. Thank you.

    Anon, people write the best epitaphs for themselves, and relatives never end up using them. The Pardon My Dust, and stuff like that.

    All right, Bellis, how did you come up with that? Are you cleaning the cupboards again? You know a pantry moth can't pick up a pen. And then where would you be?

    Susan, if someone asks my religion, I think I'll say Topper.

  8. Great post as usual. I don't understand the obsession with death (or vampires) that some people have. There's way too much life to live.

  9. I do find ghosts hopeful. Wish I knew more of them but they're such a rarity.

    I'm not a big fan of death, either. I think I'm still in denial about it.

  10. You're a genius! (my good deed for the day)

    Who is that gorgeous actress?
    And, I remember the TV series.

  11. And we finally get to find out who young Matt Van Wickle was on the comments to your other blog about this cemetery.

  12. I'm holding out for the white light, rainbow bridge etc. I'm a sap.

  13. Here's a song that's very appropriate to your post.

  14. Where'd you get all the tats, DB?

    Bec, right you are. And P, I'll tell you my one ghost story sometime.

    Bandit, I like her too. She's Constance Bennett, and was as cool as she looked. In the 30's, used to play poker with the big studio moguls. And win.

    Yes Earl, that's one of the reasons I linked to it. I know quite a few people had wondered about the story.

    PA, why not? Good luck.

    WV: Expyre. No kidding.

  15. I've heard that you're supposed to spend time sitting in a chair on your cemetery plot, contemplating your life. I don't even know where I want to be buried so I think I'm prolly deep in denial. I do like to photograph sumptuous cemeteries, though. Maybe they'll bury me with my camera. I hope so.

  16. "The eternal snooze"--well, when you put it like that, who would sign on?

    Witty, cocktail-drinking ghost (with company, including dog) does have a certain appeal.

    By the way, my daughter's joined the Gentle Ben fan club.

  17. Why that rush?


  18. I've alway found cemeteries to be very serene and calming. Great places to take photos or to just relax. I'm not afraid of dying, I don't want to do it anytime soon though...
    You've got me thinking!

  19. I don't think I have such a problem with death, although I'm not in a hurry to die. I think I'm more worried about pain. The way I figure it, I was doing ok before I was born and I'll be doing ok afterward.

  20. So I won't even tell you what my hubby's doctor said, to assure him he has a long life ahead. I didn't tell him that his calculus means I have 20 years, tops. I'm not big on visiting cemeteries or contemplating their meaning. I'm enjoying life while I've got it.

  21. Paula, those would be some pictures. Developing them might be a problem.

    Pat, I like them, too. But to you and Margaret, I've often wondered whether children's night terrors aren't the result of the journey from nothingness.

    Marjie, yes, that may be the best we can do. Though not as much as I'd like; as much as I want.

  22. Oh, and Jean, tell your daughter we are kindred spirits.

  23. Death can be a very good friend. Rejection is nice too.

  24. Death, what death? I'm living forever or at least as long as it takes for me not to want life anymore.

  25. Death as an alternative to paying your cell phone cancellation fee:

  26. Not so worried about the tats DB, but where'd those studs and rings come from???

    Cary and Constance make it all look so easy and fun...

    A friend of mine once said that she thinks God made old age so that we'd be ready to go...