Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hello Dead Person. Nice to Meet You. My Name is Insincere.

There is a time and place for all types of behavior. Sincerity. Crying. Lying. Frustration. Even telling Knock Knock Jokes about a Mexican and a Jew. A wake or funeral, specifically is a time and place appropriate for all of the above just mentioned. There are a lot of reasons why this behavior would be appropriate in such a setting.

1. Sincerity; maybe for once you really actually liked this person.

2. Tears; you've come face to face with just how unflattering black is for your skin tone.

3. Lies; the dead guy used to talk incessantly at the movies so you couldn't stand him but you couldn't say that to the grieving widow, of course.

4. A knock knock joke about a Mexican and a Jew may be just what the group of police officers in mourning need.

5. Frustrations; someone just finished the rest of TownHouse brand half cracker/half pretzel hybrid you've been dying to try. Excuse me, meaning to try. 

Sound politically incorrect? Good. It should. Politically incorrect can fly at a funeral because we're human and death is scary, or at least it is for us Catholics. We've got to get through it some how. And, if telling off-color, insensitive jokes is what your little stone heart desires at a funeral, so be it.

But, there is one thing you should never ever do when it comes to death. And, that is go to a wake/funeral just because EVERYONE ELSE IS GOING.

Years back, when I was in high school a fellow student died a very tragic death. And I felt terrible. Genuinely terrible. But I didn't go to his calling hours because 1. His death turned into a popularity contest and popularity has never been my thing. 2. I am not a disingenuous person.

Deciding whether or not to attend a funeral service should be a much bigger decision than deciding to show up at the high school dance or a homecoming football game.

When this student's calling hours took place there was a line down the street for hours. This would have been nice if everyone was there to celebrate his life. However, most people were there to celebrate their own lives and how many more parties they were going to be invited to following the service.

The bottom line is if you're going to use someone's funeral to better your social situation, chances are you're not meant to be very popular in the first place. There are plenty of other things that can make you look cooler than attending a stranger's funeral.

Perhaps work on your personality?

Some people may argue they'll look like jerk if they don't go. I say you look like a jerk if you do go. If you didn't know the person don't go to the wake, don't send a card. And please oh, please don't post your condolences in a Facebook update.

1 comment:

matt said...

Well said!

I'm reminded of a scene in Clerks...

"RANDAL: Paulsen's Funeral Parlor. The next show is at four.
DANTE: Shit. What about tomorrow?
RANDAL: One night only. She's buried in the morning.
DANTE: You've gotta watch the store. I have to go to this.
RANDAL: Wait, wait, wait. Has it occurred to you that I might bereaved as well?
DANTE: You hardly knew her!
RANDAL: True, but do you know how many people are going to be there? All of our old classmates, to say the least.
DANTE: Stop it. This is beneath even you.
RANDAL: I'm not missing what's probably going to be the social event of the season.
DANTE: You hate people.
RANDAL: But I love gatherings. Isn't it ironic?"