We all get older. Just take a look at some of last week's columns -- Surprising Upsides to Getting Married, Words that Take on New Meanings When You Get Older, Advice That Doesn't Make Sense Until It's Too Late -- it's even happening to us: The idiot man-children of the internet. Aging is The Terminator: It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.
But who said mortality had to be so goddamn boring?
This is mind-numbing. Do a flip or something. Dang.
Most funeral services are morbid, somber, serene affairs that are directly at odds with most human beings, who are ridiculous, flailing jesters, pratfalling their way through life. Sure, there are Irish Wakes and Jazz Funerals, but even these have an air of respect and solemnity about them. What if you were never respectful or solemn at any point in your entire life? I say it's time to put the "fun" back in 'funeral' and the 'felony' back in "the cemetery."
What's that? There's no "felony" in "the cemetery"?
Well not yet, silly, we're only just getting started!
Why do we put our corpses in hearses? Do the dead need the leg room? Is there some implied dignity to sleeping in a station wagon? That's certainly news to all the recently divorced step-fathers waking up in Wal-mart parking lots across America right now. Besides, as a semi-professional burnout who only vaguely understands the concept of rent, I've spent more time in the backseat of a Taurus than a gay Virgo. Suddenly it's too good for me in death?
Don't heap the dignity on me in death that I never possessed in life; if you're going to do anything, pile all the awesome on me in death that I was too fiscally irresponsible to afford when I was still sucking breath. If I need a special car to commute to the pile of dirt you're going to throw my corpse in, then I ask that you huck it in the backseat of a '68 Charger, not the shameful bastard offspring of a Caddy and a Vanagon.
The funeral procession can stay, though. Just know that every member of it is obliged to haul ass the entire time. No twenty mile an hour pileup that ruins traffic for everybody else, please. I hated getting stuck behind those while I was living, I certainly don't want to be the cause of them now that I'm not. The last thing I want is an obnoxious 20 year-old cursing my desiccated husk for making them late to their job at Pizza Hut again. I can't have that bad mojo following me onto the Bridge of Judgment (I'm gonna have a hard enough time dive-tackling the Crone of the Scales to break into heaven in the first place; I can't be tripping over no pizza boy juju while I'm doing it.)
No, for my funeral procession, every single attendee should struggle to keep up as my trained stunt-driver drifts around corners, handbrake turns down jackknifes, and occasionally ramps conveniently placed ramp-trucks (note: please conveniently place ramp trucks around the procession route before it starts).
Do you want phonies at your funeral? Hell no! People should
Most epitaphs proclaim nothing more than a series of generic nouns about the person interred:
"Bill Lumberg. Typing. 69. We done here?"
You should all be picking the words you want engraved on your tombstone right now, before it's too late. If you're struggling, I find you can assemble a variety of badass odes to your own delusional greatness with phrases like "friend to tigers," "laser battle," "fistgod" or the always applicable "fuckmaster." I've obviously given this a lot of thought, and I feel the words that most define my life philosophy would have to be
"Est sutharos ef militantae, est mithos en A-Team ... "
Only please substitute all of those words with actual, real Latin, as the phrase above is pure gibberish.
Oh, and for the love of God, pick a decent font. I'm not spending eternity rotting beneath some Times New Roman, you sons of bitches. At least spring for some Cambria or, if that's not in the budget, a nice Verdana.
Listen, whoever's legally or morally responsible for fulfilling my last wishes: I know I've made some enemies in my time, but I've also made some really great friends...who have probably turned into enemies by now.
Just playing the odds.
So while I'm hoping that a few acquaintances are still dwelling in what I call the "temperate zone" -- that phase in our friendship where you still find my drunken car accidents charming, but not yet into your living room -- you might have to hire some hobos to come attend me and flesh out the crowd. That's fine. I understand budget constraints. But for Christ's sake: Black tie. This isn't a fucking tractor pull, fellas. Have some god damned class.
Just make sure they bring their formal hobo-staves.
Now, on to the reception. You're going to need a lot of alcohol there, both to keep that notoriously skittish hobo attention span, and to properly pay homage to the man that I was: Let's face it, we all know I could only stand to be around people while heavily drinking. The last time I had fun in a large crowd without alcohol was when I was driving my car through Nordstrom.
Oh no wait, hahaha, I was drunk off my ass that time!
Regardless, if you know how I loved the drink, then you also know how I loved the not working. Therefore, while you'll be kicking off the reception with a few
"The Night Train only sells one-way tickets to Throw-Up-On-an-IHOP-Waitress-Ville, son."
Finally, the music: I was not a classy man, and as such, I do not want classical music at my service. While I do enjoy the sheer drama of the opera, I find their subject matter seriously wanting of cowboys. You should absolutely employ a stunning, noble, pale-skinned aging opera singer for the ceremony, but I request that she abstain from Ave Maria, and instead sing
For truly, I was a great man. One you wish could be among the living again, even as you know and accept that the mortal python must coil around us all and crush us with its thick, scaly body. Still, though I am gone from this life, you would not trade those memories for anything. I was, in short, a man you wanted (
Now, I imagine this goes without saying, but you're going to have to boil me.
No? You didn't just assume that? Weird. Okay, bear with me, I'm going somewhere with this:
You need to boil me clean, and place my remains on a giant underground spring, housed beneath a fake grass panel at the grave site. Motion sensors are to be rigged to this assembly, so that if anybody should feel the need to get all sobby and mope around my grave for longer than five minutes, the sensors will trip and my skeleton will launch from beneath the ground to bob and sway comically. Sound clips from Vincent Price movies should play from the cheap, tinny speaker mounted in my mouth, while flashing red lights blink in one eye-socket, an eyepatch over the other. If you could somehow rig Vincent Price to also sound like a pirate, me and the ghost of Jesus would get a pretty good laugh.
"OK, whose idea was the headband? Step forward, because you've just won. You've won the afterlife." - Jesus H. Christ
Hey, I said I was "going somewhere" with this. I never implied you'd understand it when we arrived. That was your assumption to make, buddy; don't hang
I know that the preceding is asking a lot of you financially. And I know I won't be able to contribute anything toward it - despite having rocketed up the business food chain like an astronaut shark before my death -- because in my final days, I will have blown all of my resources on drugs and exotic animals, so that I can give the drugs to the exotic animals and die as I lived: Laughing at something I probably shouldn't.
But don't worry, because I have a plan that I'm going to make up right now:
Before I die, I'm going to start a fighting league using as many ex-celebrities as I can find in the run-down diners, seedy bars and all-you-can-eat-brothels over in The Valley. The appeal is irresistible: It combines mankind's love of awful people who need attention more than they need dignity, with our collective and primal bloodlust!
Hmm, it might need to be knocked up a few notches, though, as I imagine most reality shows in the strange and distant future from which you're reading this will already end in death, fucking, or death-fucking. That's just what it takes to meet your sick and jaded future-standards, isn't it?! You're probably flying around on a jetpack while raping a super-intelligent dolphin right now,
No, 'balancing a ball on their nose' is not 'asking for it,' future-perv.
So how about this: What if we all ride skateboards, and have samurai swords? But here's the catch: We're only allowed to train with
"Dude, did you see when that mustachioed guy manualed into a frontside noseslide, and then Gene Wilder chopped his arm clean off?! That was Rad^10(100)!!"
Only please substitute those numbers with real scientific notation, as the expression above is complete gibberish.
So hey, there you go. Problem solved: The tickets and Pay-per-view rights practically sell themselves. Hell, with the proceeds, you could fund twenty of my funerals!
And that's good, because I am actually going to need 20 separate funerals.
You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Or you could get a headstart on mourning him: In lieu of flowers, please just fistfight your nearest government official.
Check out more from Robert in If The Characters from 'Street Fighter 2' Got Hammered and The 8 Manliest Foreign Movie Posters Ever.
How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.
Most rich kids just want to be pop stars.