Through no fault of their own, funerals are some of the lamest parties ever thrown. You have all your friends and family together but because there's a corpse in the room, the whole thing is a bit of a downer. Imagine what it's like to be Al Gore; that's what it's like to be at a funeral, and that's just when things go according to plan. But just as with buying a new home or getting tested for VD, sometimes things go horribly awry. So if you can avoid these things, do so.
Back in your grandmother's day, Rudolph Valentino was widely considered the greatest thing since sliced bread, which, having just replaced punching a loaf of bread with a fistful of salami, was still pretty hot. Valentino was one of the biggest silent film stars in the world, which meant he had to carry an entire story based on how intensely he could grimace, stare ominously and make that face you make when you really have to go to the can.
To many women at the time, Rudolph Valentino was what you would get if you mixed Brad Pitt with low-fat yogurt and expensive shoes--these being the three main things women love, as I understand it. So when he died all of a sudden at age 31, people lost their minds. One hundred thousand New Yorkers lined the streets for his funeral, broke windows to try to get in to see the body and some fans, totally unable to cope with the monumental loss of a person they had never met or, you know, heard speak, tried to off themselves.
Check it out baby, I got no nipples.
Two women attempted to kill themselves in front of the hospital where Valentino had died, and elsewhere it's said a boy decided to lay down with some of the actor's photos and take his own life, presumably with cyanide or a velveteen hammer. A 27-year-old actress poisoned herself at a friend's apartment, surrounded by photos of Valentino and letters she'd written to him, which we'll go into more detail in our article: The Five Most Inconsiderate House Guests of All-Time.
Funerals are often pretty formulaic and if you've been to one, you have a good idea of how to prepare for any other one you're apt to go to. There's a somber mood and a certain degree of acceptable flirting with hot strangers depending on how close to you the deceased was. You've got your finger sandwiches and, generally, the right dead person. Those last two are super important. Science says the smaller or larger you make a sandwich, the more awesome it becomes. Oh, and the corpse should be someone you know.
When Kenneth "Tex" Roberts passed on, the funeral home had one of those zany incidents where they store all the bodies together, presumably in a ball pit or something, so when they went to get him ready, they pulled out the wrong dude and dressed him in Roberts' clothes. So the dead guys were all naked in that pit, too. Rough deal.
Every year, Chuck E. Cheese loses about a dozen kids to ball pit fatalities.
Roberts' widow pointed out, upon seeing the body, that it wasn't her husband. However, an adept funeral home employee pointed out "that's how you look when you die" and things went ahead. So for future reference, you look exactly like a different dead guy when you die. Remember that.
Before the service began, the funeral director noticed the mistake and raced to the rescue, pointing out that Roberts was not the man in the casket--in fact he was at a totally different funeral home. It was at this point crying, asthma attacks and seizures began.
Luckily they were able to go get the real Roberts and drive him back lickety split. The fact the drivers were in such a hurry that Roberts popped out of his casket a little bit so that his legs were hanging all willy-nilly probably did very little to calm anyone down though.
You know what's probably awesome? Irony. We learned what it means from Alanis Morissette so our grasp is tenuous at best, but when it plays out over life and death situations it can get pretty trippy.
Brian Moore, a high school athlete, had to whip up something to say before the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; a group of Jesus-lovers who may or may not have traveled Middle Earth. What he came up with was an essay called "The Room" and it was one hell of a story. It detailed how the boy met Jesus in a room full of file cards, and each card detailed something about his life. Basically, it was his view of Heaven and covered how ashamed he feels when confronted with all his wrong doings in life. Two months after he wrote it, he died.
Pictured: Actual Heaven. And it's totally awesome.
The essay was read at his funeral, and sometime later the local paper reprinted it because it was that good. It was around this time that people who had read the essay two years earlier in a magazine sent a friendly note to the paper pointing out that the real author was a guy named Joshua Harris.
Moore, who had been built up so much by his community as a brilliant student and writer, an exceptional athlete and a wonderful person, was also a bit of a plagiarist. He stole the essay and presented it to the Fellowship as his own. God knows what happened to them if that's all they had when the Balrog attacked, but it probably ended with something prolapsed.
Turns out the baby boomer generation that sexed most of our readers into the world love the environment almost as much as they love having sex with one another (which incidentally is like so much you don't even know). What you may not have noticed is that, like the free love movement, the elder generation's rush to save the environment has gotten a lot more horrifying as they've gotten older.
The truly cheap/eco-friendly amongst them can forgo old standbys like embalming and wood boxes and instead get popped right into a cardboard box, dropped in the ground and marked by a freshly planted tree that will grow strong as it saps nutrients out of your decaying, pulpy, cardboardy grossness under the ground.
Oh man, I totally forgot that's why we don't bury people in the pet cemetery. Durr!
When Claire Wallerstein decided to have her father buried in an eco-friendly manner, she probably wanted all that stuff to occur. The fact that eco plots are hard to come by and thus her father got put to rest a couple of steps away from a pet cemetery was probably not in the brochure, however.
She also didn't plan on her dad being stored in a freezer for a few days and then being unavailable for the planned viewing since humans, much like a Fudgsicle, need to be put away if you want to enjoy them later.
It also turns out that if you want to use a tree as a grave marker, you need to let the earth settle for a while after the burial. So you have to come back a few months later and then plant it. This in turn means that, if no one took the time to jam a stick in the ground to mark the grave in the meantime, you're going to spend your afternoon counting paces from the nearest parrot grave, trying to remember where you buried that box your dad was in.