BRASHER: I’ve been to a lot of funerals. I would strongly suspect I’ve attended more than the average person my age. You know, on one hand I’ve been fortunate to have some pretty long lived family members, but on the other, my friends not so much. Sometimes I wonder about why that is. Could it be that we live in a town where everyone knows everyone fairly well and when someone dies it’s a bigger deal? Maybe it’s this sort of culture I came out of, with the hard living, substance abuse and mental illness? Perhaps it’s regional, or economic, or a fluke accident, or is it just a perfect storm combination of everything?
ROWE: Are we doing this? Aw yeah, here comes the Brasher and Rowe humor column about death. How are we going to monetize this? SEO money, SEO problems, I always say.
BRASHER: If going to so many funerals has taught me anything, aside from honing my awareness of our impending mortality, it’s what works and what doesn’t work. So let’s try and do this right y’all! We all gonna die and we might as well make some plans for it so it isn’t just a complete bummer waste of everyone’s time. This week we’re just gonna stop beating around the death bush in our column and get right into it. Maybe it will be therapeutic, who knows.
ROWE: Funerals are for the living. It’s a celebration of the loved one’s life for the survivors as they face the mental anguish of filling out paperwork.
BRASHER: Also, having a long list of stuff a dead person told you to do is a great way for you to get out of work, and I’m just looking out for y’all from the beyond. I already told my wife a short version of this, but so you know just in case: If I die I want my funeral to be open casket, but instead of me in there I just want a not entirely convincing plastic skeleton in a fake coffin. All my great tissues, (which aren’t polluted beyond use I swear) they gonna go to transplants, or get made into a slurry of stem cells or whatever science thinks is helpful these days. My bones will be given out as party favors, except the good heavy useful ones are to be made into China, the porcelain not the country. Do something hilarious with my skull, put it in a bar or something so I can haunt it.
ROWE: Donate my body to Sharper Image. I believe in the sanctity of death, and must follow the priorities of my culture and time period to best respect the use of my body following the inevitable. Following that criteria, I think that giving my very healthy organs to a job-creator is the highest honor. Be certain a hard partying disruptive start-up tech bro gets my very clean kidneys. Like Brasher, my bones should also be made into porcelain, but into the finest executive vaping tray. Make sure a poor person doesn’t get my body.
BRASHER: Other posthumous things: Avenge my death. You can interpret this really however you want. As long as someone or something I had any level of grievance against gets some comeuppance and my postmortem machinations were the reason, I am good with that. If somehow when I die and there is nothing left to avenge on my behalf, well that’s fantastic, go play a few games of skeeball or something with that time. Give the tickets you win to the children of Chuck-E-Cheese in my name.
ROWE: Is it always about juvenile violence with us? You know, I was being flip earlier when I wrote that I didn’t want a poor person to get my body. I was trying to mock the priorities of the culture and time I live in. I think that the culture is too violent, and laughs too much about senseless death. So earnestly and honestly: honor my ancestors by silently and reverently putting my body on a ship and setting the ship on fire as it leaves shore. Also, please don’t alert the crew because I want some company in the afterlife.
BRASHER: Ancient Egyptian royalty, as noted in previous columns, were a bunch of weird looking inbred dorks. They could build the everloving hell out of some statues though: Pyramids, obelisks, massive tombs with just tons of dinky obsessive little stuff carved all into them. That was pretty good, right? I get it though, we can’t all fill the Earth with towering monuments to our own demise, but why did we stop even trying? It wouldn’t hurt to at least give it a go. So next on my wish list of death stuff I want some kind of statue or sepulcher or something. I want it to be cool and creepy enough that teenagers will seek it out to play Black Sabbath tracks on their phones while they smoke weed on or around it. This I decree.
ROWE: Russian gangsters have got the monument thing right, just like they do the joys of a track suit, tank top and gold chain. Denis Tarasov has a great photo series where he documents the grave stones of several members of the Russian mafia. They do not want you to flex in death:
ROWE: It’s like a parlor game: What songs do you want played at your funeral? I don’t often take these things seriously, as these are thought experiments along the lines of desert island records. Also, the songs chosen aren’t really fun for funerals. It’s like picking out a song for karaoke: The song you like is often much longer than you remember it being.
BRASHER: Funeral playlist. Man you know what, I don’t trust anyone else enough to do this so i’m gonna do it myself, honestly y’all would just mess it up. Okay so here’s some tunes. I expect that some of my friends would play at least some of them, you know who you are. Maybe these are a bit on the nose in the reference to dying but whatever, it’s my funeral. 1. First up is Louis Jordan’s “Jack, You’re Dead.” It’s a fun light tune and we gotta set the tone early so people don’t caught up in the whole downer “dead me” thing. Next is Brian Eno’s “On Some Faraway Beach.” Feel free to cut it down by like 16 bars because honestly the intro drags a little much for my taste, just a suggestion to keep things moving along, no one wants to get stuck at a funeral for like two hours. Finally, The Jam’s “Beat Surrender.” It’s The Jam’s final big single and with all the huge instrumentation and stuff, I feel like if it’s done right, it’s uplifting but you could definitely cry your ass off to it if you had a mind to.
ROWE: For me just play “Living in America” by James Brown and ask everyone to stand. A fake James Brown song that’s much longer than the hook would have you believe. Also, it’ll just ask way too much of the audience’s attention, they won’t know really what do with their hands while it plays, and it will only serve the purpose of making my ghost have a good laugh.
BRASHER: So we rack up all this garbage over the course of our lives and what are we going to do with it? I guess my kid and family will probably pick up any knick knacks they might want but there’s gonna be a whole lot left over, and I assure you my wife doesn’t want any of it in the house. I mean she doesn’t want it there now, and I’m still mostly alive. Perhaps there will come a day when she can just put it all in the yard and tell everyone it has to be gone by sundown. I would endorse that I suppose, but before that happens someone put a few cool little things up in my tomb for me to play with just in case you can take it with you and the ancient Egyptians were right after all. Alright, I feel like I’ve taken care of some pretty important stuff here. I feel … at peace. I’m definitely ready to live 200 more years.
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