My family has owned and operated a funeral home for the better part of a century. I've been in and around the business for a good twenty years now and people always want to know how I stay so upbeat. The answer is simple: Corpses=Cash. Every stiff that rolls through the door is another meal on my table.
Now, am I thinking about chicken salad while you cry on my shoulder? Of course not! I prefer cured meats to mayonnaise salads, which reminds me of a funny story. One time we were transporting a cadaver and we dropped him on his head and... Well, never mind. People never get why that story's funny.
Recently, I've been getting the same two questions at every funeral service. For some reason these families trust me. I smile, nod when appropriate and assure them that their loved ones are at peace. But in my mind, I'm spending that sweet death money: New sunglasses, new lawnmower, new rims.
Without fail, when they are comfortable they ask me if I watched Six Feet Under.
"Sure," I tell them.
Then there's the same old follow-ups:
"Is that what it's like to be an undertaker?"
"To an extent, yes."
"Do you work on the bodies?"
"I do some of the embalming and cosmetic stuff, but we have a specialist for the more intensive reconstructions."
"Wasn't Nate dreamy?"
"As a heterosexual male I can emphatically say, yes. Yes he was dreamy."
"You're the only one who understands me, wall."
They start to get very comfortable. They tell me what their favorite episode was. They tell me which death was their favorite. The majority favor the guy who got chopped in two by an elevator. I nod, and smile and do my best to remain affable.
What comes next is inevitable. They (usually a guy) will look around to make sure no one is looking, lean in and whisper the question:
"So, you ever fuck a dead guy?"
The first time someone asked I was horrified. But now, I'm used to it.
"No, I've never fucked a dead guy."
This question always has follow-ups, too.
"Really? Not even once?"
"Nope, never. I've never fucked a living guy for that matter."
"Yeah, but you've thought about fucking a dead guy, right? You are human."
"Yes I'm human, but no, I have never fucked a dead guy."
Ducks though...ducks are all up in that shit.
"Yeah me neither. I've never thought about it either. I just figured that you were around it all the time, and well..."
At this point they usually start to cry.
"It's ok, really. Believe it or not, I get that question all the time."
"I'm so sorry. I just really miss my uncle Jack."
"I hear you, friend. It's going to be alright. I promise."
But besides that bullshit, it's all upside. I hope this business stays in the family for another hundred years. Because I love buying new stuff. And I bet my great-grandchildren will love buying new stuff too. I just hope we don't start cryogenically freezing people because I don't feel like fielding questions about fucking dead frozen guys. That would just be weird.