7 Insane Obituaries You Won't Believe Are About Real People
Having never died, I can't say for sure if there are any upsides to the whole experience. But from the outside looking in, it seems like it probably sucks a bag of eternal dicks. Think of everything you lose out on ---chicken wings, new comic book movies, watching your friends fall down, a great pair of pants, monkeys, the beach. Shit man, all kinds of stuff. And yeah, maybe there's some kind of afterlife or a Heaven or whatever, but do you think Heaven has people like me? I don't know, could you imagine trying to have, like, the best existence ever without me there? That's crazy. And existentially trying. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. This whole intro is just a wash.
When you die, you're gone. But a lot of people feel the need to make note of it in the newspaper, of all things. Grandpa died; let's put a paragraph in the paper. The obituary. For the people whose own lives are so grim that they read obituaries. For many moons, the obituary was home to the most perfunctory of facts and rudimentary stories. And then one day, people started putting really weird shit in their obituaries. And then I wrote an article about it.
With the exception of celebrities over 60, most people don't have pre-written obituaries. By and large, you just have to die suddenly, and then someone in your family is tasked with putting a few words in the paper. But what if you know well ahead of time that you are going to die?
Aaron Joseph Purmort was well aware that his time was almost up when he decided to work with his wife to write the ultimate obituary. Dying from brain cancer, Purmort decided to leave the world and his infant son a handful of thoughts that would be well above and beyond the usual story of someone who is survived by their family and was a good person who enjoyed skeeball. The fact that Purmort's obituary started out with the revelation that he'd once been bitten by a radioactive spider kind of sets the tone for the entire rest of the piece.
He was Spider-Man. The good kind, not the emo/dancing kind.
The body of his obituary explains who he was, where he went to school, what he did, and who his family was (including a nod to his first wife, Gwen Stefani). The clincher comes at the end, when he lists his son in the line "He is survived by current wife Nora and their son Ralph, who will grow up to avenge his father's untimely death."
Father and son pictured here, reading only the Inigo Montoya parts of The Princess Bride.
It's got to be an awful thing to know you'll never see your child grow up, and it's got to be just as awful to grow up not knowing your dad. But at least Ralph will have this and other stories and writings from his dad to know his old man was pretty damn cool even up to the end, and that he fully expected his son to take up the mantle of someone who can laugh in the face of anything, even death.
A Full Confession
They say the most honest moments in a man's life are right after he gets off and when he's dying. Or maybe I just said that. It's been said, anyway. But when you know you're dying, there's probably a real sense of freedom in there somewhere, in that you know it's all coming to a close soon, so who gives a shit what you do in the last few moments? That was the case with Val Patterson, a man dying of throat cancer who decided to say "fuck it" and spill the beans on his life.
Everyone likely has a secret or two that they feel they may take to the grave, but Val's secrets were pretty big, all things being equal. For instance, the PhD he'd had for his entire adult life was complete bullshit. As he explained in his obituary, a clerical error when he went to pay his tuition (the girl at the counter put his payment in the wrong pile), led to the school mailing him a PhD certificate. He had only completed three years of college at the time. He goes on to say he never even bothered to learn what the initials "PhD" stood for, which is pretty awesome when you think about it. He actually ended up working in his "field" as an electronics engineer and was apparently quite good at it, even if he had to bluff his way into it.
"This baby can hit 60 PhDs in under three seconds."
In addition to his fake doctor status, he also copped to having stolen a safe from a motel back in the 1970s, being banned from Disneyland and SeaWorld, and possibly plugging up a geyser in a national park. Whether all those were true or jokes is between Val and the parties mentioned, though it's nice to think a fake PhD may have been kicked out of some of the country's biggest theme parks and then banned for life.
Uncle Scrooge probably heard about the safe incident and got paranoid.
Pocket Knife Surgery
Your average obituary isn't much in terms of its literary merit. Usually it's a tiny square on a page which was billed per word and thus will be limited to strictly the most pertinent information, which is generally a name, a date, a list of family members, and maybe one or two fun tidbits about that person's life. For instance, when I go, if my relatives are strapped for cash, I hope they at least include "loved bosoms and grilled meat" somewhere, so people get to the heart of what kept me going all these years.
"In lieu of flowers, just eat until you explode. Felix would've wanted it that way."
In the case of Chan Holcombe, a lad born in 1939, when it came time to list an interesting fact about his life on this Earth, his loved ones came up with two. One was that he liked to fish and caught a lot of crappie. The other was that his father circumcised him with his own pocketknife.
Guess which one got more camera time.
If we could pause a moment, I want us all to play a game. I want you to consider this story -- a man being circumcised with his dad's pocketknife back in 1939 -- and then consider the context and fullness of an entire human life. When Chan here died in 2011, he was 72. He lived 72 full years of life and was reduced to a boatload of crappie and a Swiss Army dick trim. What other events could have possibly happened in this man's life that were deemed not as important? What hobbies or once-in-a-lifetime experiences were put aside because someone, rightly or wrongly, thought your dad deciding to forgo chewing off your foreskin in favor of an only slightly less horrifying method was the best nugget of info to share with the newspaper-reading public?
What do you put in an obituary for the woman responsible for coining the term "polyamory" -- the practice of having multiple, non-exclusive sexual or emotional relationships? And what kind of person coins such a term, anyway? The person was Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, a self-proclaimed witch and High Priestess in the Church of All Words. What does that mean, you might ask? Means she was maybe a little more granola than the sort of people you meet on the subway, but was probably a really nice lady and probably had things made out of hemp.
"Goat's horns? Hemp. That beard? Hemp. The camera shooting this? Uh, Sears."
Amongst Ravenheart's achievements listed in her obituary, there's founding the world's only registered wizard academy (though it doesn't mention who they registered with), travelling in a school bus called the Scarlet Succubus, and raising unicorns. How does one raise a unicorn in our society, when everyone knows McDonald's converted the last of them into McNuggets back in the '70s? They performed minor surgery on goat horns. So basically, a unicorn was a one-horned goat. Beggars can't be choosers, man.
If a funeral is supposed to be a celebration of one's life, as some like to think, then what should take place at said funeral? Should you just sit and look at a photo while a priest says some words? Should a few people offer eulogies about how good a person you were? Or should shit get so real you need to card people at the entrance?
In the case of Michael "Flathead" Blanchard, shit was real his whole life, and it was going to stay that way in death. His obituary starts by letting you know he hates obituaries about how people courageously battled death, and his own death was the result of stubbornly ignoring doctors and partying for 60 years straight. He was a man who enjoyed booze, guns, and younger women, and said so for all to read.
"Fine, I'll give you my gun now."
The clincher for Mr. Blanchard is the end, in which he reveals that most of his friends who weren't killed in Vietnam went on to become "criminals, prostitutes, and/or Democrats," and if you attend his funeral, please be over 18, as there will be adult material. Now that's how you pass into the afterlife.
Heaven Is A Place
If you're a religious person, you likely take it for granted that a loved one is moving on to the afterlife when they die. What kind of afterlife? Probably Heaven. And what happens in Heaven? People read the paper, so you better make the obituary a memorable one. And you better keep it up on your loved one's birthday, during which they get to chat with God, sleep in late, and have some spirit pancakes and bacon -- which, in case you're concerned, doesn't harm the pig but delights him, because he's a heavenly pig and can just give bacon away and not suffer for it all the live long day. Trust me. Or trust the family of Heather Ann Whetzel-Bissegger, who state in their In Memoriam post that the Deseret News is the paper of record in Heaven and the only one God bothers to read.
Take that, Times-Picayune!
You can read the entire post here. It's actually so damn sweet that you might get a little misty and go hug someone you care about, but it also shows that some people can at least face death with the kind of attitude it needs to be met with: a mix of one part somber with three parts humor. Because let's be honest, death sucks enough without us getting all depressed about it and making it worse for the living.
You ever notice dead people are the best people in the world? When someone dies, people will praise them as though they were Frank Sinatra and Mr. Rogers rolled up into one (which I imagine would be the greatest man in history). But how can everyone be great in death when we know from experience that so many people in life are just fantastic assholes? Don't assholes die? The answer is yes they do, and every so often, it gets pointed out.
"I'm sorry for your loss, but have you already forgotten about all those puppies he kicked?"
The adult children of Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick so hated their mother -- and I mean a full-on angry "fuck you, you dead bitch" hate -- that they turned her obituary into the most insulting farewell you could imagine. For some perspective, here's how it started after listing her name and when she died:
She is survived by her six of eight children, whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them. When they became adults, she stalked and tortured anyone they dared to love. Everyone she met, adult or child, was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit.
Her final home, where her only company was 13 extremely unlucky cats.
This is basically the kind of homage you'd write for Satan if you were forced to say a few words about him at the annual Hell-Prince Dinner and Gala. The obituary continues:
On behalf of her children, whom she so abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life, we celebrate her passing from this Earth and hope she lives in the afterlife reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty, and shame that she delivered on her children. Her surviving children will now live the rest of their lives with the peace of knowing their nightmare finally has some form of closure.
If your children react to your death with "ding dong, the witch is dead,"
you might be a massive fuck-up.
You can really only speculate at this point about what kind of otherworldly abuse these kids must have endured at the hands of their mother. When the obituary went viral, media outlets tracked down the kids, who told tales of daily beatings for years, being forced to sleep on floors, and their mother running a brothel out of their house. So if the way you leave this world means anything to you, you may want to consider not being a giant prick in life, lest the first and last impression you leave on the rest of the world is about how much of a cosmically huge cock you were.
For more from Felix, check out 6 Ways ISIS Is Crazier Than You Thought and 4 Cartoon Characters You Won't Believe Are Real People.
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