5 Tips for Writing the Perfect Eulogy (For Someone You Hate)
Someday in the future, everything you love and cherish will stop existing and you will die. Heavy, I know, but there is a silver lining to that oblivion cloud: The same thing will happen to your enemies, and with any luck, it will happen to them first. No one ever wins in life, but as long as you strive to be the very last loser, you may have the luxury of watching awful people fall around you.
Ha! Yes. 657 to go. Now, every once in awhile, a third party will mistake your lifelong rivalry for a competitive friendship and ask you to speak at a funeral for one of your enemies. A funeral you only planned on attending to see your adversary locked helplessly in a box and buried. But you never turn down a challenge and you are no quitter, as evidenced by your even heartbeat, your strokeless brain. My God, you could do a hundred jumping jacks right now if you had to, even in that expensive suit. You will accept and you will eulogize so hard that your rival's family will fill the voids they feel with your words, or, if they are attractive, potentially your genitals. Yes, when life hands you the body of your enemy, you will make lenemy-ade. Here are five tips on enduring out loud in the dead face of your nemesis.
Generalize Until the Deceased Is a Faceless Shadow in the Mind of Loved Ones!The dead will always live on in the hearts and minds of those who survive them. It's annoying, but until science finds a way for you to crawl inside a human head and murder those memories, it's something you'll have to tolerate. In the meantime, you can do your level best to cloud everyone's recollections of the awful person in the casket. The easiest way to do this, strangely enough, is through generic praise.
"She had a good heart. But not that good, obviously, because it malfunctioned." Start with shallow compliments that could be used for anyone. "He always had a smile on his face" or "She was always kind to everyone" are nice ways to devalue any actual depth the person had in life while also vaguely insinuating that your enemy may have been blissfully retarded. In truth, anyone who spent an entire life smiling and blindly throwing around kindness would be a nightmare to hang out with; all that optimism would get exhausting. But the bereaved love hearing this kind of thing, and it has the added benefit of replacing the real memory with a flimsy, two-dimensional caricature. Already you are chiseling away at the true personality of your rival. Once you've thoroughly stripped away his or her individuality with trite cliches, take a moment to remind your audience of the very specific shortcomings of your enemy ...
Accuse the Deceased of Leaving Early!A throaty and broken assertion that your enemy was taken too early from this world is a surefire way to let everyone know that he left a lot of loose ends before (cowardly) dying. Responsible people finish what they start. By saying, "He was taken before his time," you can indirectly acknowledge that your enemy left a lot of shit unaccomplished.
Some unfinished projects will be more tangible than others.
Share an Intimate Story That Highlights Your Disappointment in the Deceased!This is a good time to bring up embarrassing anecdotes that pivot on the endless inadequacies of your enemy. Be careful, though; this should have a very specific order and flow to it or else it will come off as a charming memory, which is the last thing you want. Here's how it should play:"[Name of the intolerable corpse] always dreamed of getting a pilot's license/writing a book/seeing Vietnam/etc., but life just got in the way, as it will do. (Look pensively toward the horizon as though you're writing a mental note to make time for more awesome things before you die.) Jobs, family, friends -- these are the things that came first for [name of the unpleasant carcass]. She never got to live out those dreams, because we -- you and I -- were always the priority." (Point skyward with both index fingers and address the ceiling.) "Well, now you've got your wings, champ/I'm sure you've got some crazy stories to tell now, buddy/I'm sure you're seeing the world with a whole new perspective, you paltry bitch/etc."
"I decided to self-publish up here. It's just easier, and I get to keep creative control. Anyway, I've got a box of these if you want one." The grievers will appreciate the sentiment, but you all know that the through-line of the story is your enemy's incompetence and how she's missing the biggest deadline of all. Furthermore, pointing to heaven is a nice gesture, even if everyone knows that dead is dead. They will still respect you for pretending. By now you're probably feeling pretty good, so the next step is to subtly establish the possibility of an after party.
Encourage Everyone to Celebrate Life Instead of Mourning DeathBy now, hopefully everyone will be sick of being so dreary and sober. Float the idea of transforming the whole affair into a party and qualify your decision with a heartfelt "[Name of the inferior, past-tense person] wouldn't want us to be sad today, he would want us to celebrate in his honor." Usually that's all it takes. The grief-stricken are just waiting for an endorsement from the dead to stop mourning and start drinking, because feeling miserable is hard work.
"Now that's what I call a wake. Right? Right, everyone? Ahh, you're having a good time."
If All Else Fails, Pretend You're Talking About YourselfYou will see the following tips hard at work at nearly every funeral you attend. I'm assuming the generic sentiment is intentional, and at least one nemesis of the corpse always has a chance to speak. But if you aren't careful in the slow, deliberate sabotage of your enemy's memory, the mourners may get suspicious. Should you sense uneasiness in the crowd while following any of these other tips, your safest bet is to launch into true emotion. To be clear, I don't mean the true emotion you feel for the deceased. Aim for the true emotion you feel for yourself: pure love.
"I feel like I can tell you anything." Speak as though you have the opportunity to eulogize at your own funeral; say everything you hope others will say about you. After all, you are not so different from the person lying in that casket, aside from your obvious dominance at living. Be honest and kind, and most importantly, pretend the tears from all those desperate faces are for you, because one day they will be, and you will not be there to see them. Misery doesn't play favorites, or more accurately, it favors everyone, playing for both sides like an all-time quarterback who only throws the ball over the fence so no one can win. So really soak up the sadness while you have the opportunity, and enjoy it. You can take pride through it all in knowing that you are literally dead last.