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Notes from the Apocalypse

From the Archives – Funeral for a Friend

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By Charles Morgan III


Editor’s Note: Due to my lackadaisical attitude and fondness for Wild Turkey 101 at well before 5PM, we don’t have a new column by Charles this go-round. Fortunately, I was able to access the safe where Charles keeps his bound copies of every Beachcomber column he’s ever written, along with a “Make Russia Great Again” cap gifted to him by Chris Wilson from The Zoo Gallery.


This piece originally ran in the April 19, 2007 Beachcomber.


After two columns about our national nightmare in Iraq, I have decided to lighten things up and write about a funeral. Mine.


I have specific ideas about my funeral, but first I have some requests for my final days. I hope I live another 50 years, but since one never knows, I have some guidelines I would like followed during my last days on earth.


First, make absolutely sure that I am dead. I have a friend in the Bahamas whose grandmother passed away last year. In the Bahamas, people are generally buried the day that they die. Her single request was that she be buried the day after she died.


She grew up in Hopetown on Elbow Cay. In the haste to dispose of the diseased bodies when the cholera epidemic swept through the island in the 1920s, a young friend of hers was buried alive. That incident remained vivid to her for her entire life.


I’m not concerned about how long to wait after my death for the burial. But I do want the funeral to be held on a rainy day. Very rainy. Thunder and lightning aren’t necessary, but rain is a must. A stationary low front where it rains for an entire week would be perfect. I want the guests at the funeral to be cold, wet and miserable. Kind of like the way we are during cobia season.


And speaking of cobia season, if that happens to be when I pass on, I want my old friend Goose in the balcony of the church. And every five minutes or so, I want Goose to stop the proceedings, point at my casket and whisper, “There he is!”


But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let’s make sure that I am totally dead. If I don’t die in an accident, and my death looms in a hospital, I want to be certain that all life support systems in existence are being fully utilized. Billions of dollars have been spent on technology to keep us alive, and I want to take full advantage of it.


I have good insurance. I don’t want anyone even walking near the electrical hookups for these machines, much less pulling any plugs.


When I do die, I want at least a dozen qualified experts—with diplomas from top-notch medical schools—to verify that I am, without any doubt, dead. I have been known to rest very soundly, and I don’t want a serious nap to be misinterpreted as death.


Back to the funeral. In many obituaries, there is the phrase “in lieu of flowers…” You can forget the rest of that sentence. I want so many flowers that the florists run out of inventory.


The attire at my funeral will be black. Period. No color. No festive dresses or ties. Just black.


There will be none of this “celebration of life” mumbo-jumbo. I want strictly “mourning of death.” I want people to be so upset they can barely stand up straight. I don’t know much about requiems, but I want the saddest funeral dirge in existence to be played continuously throughout the ceremony.


Finally, I request that the guests at my funeral who are of faith be given the opportunity to show just how deep their faith really is. There will be a box at the church entrance full of poisonous snakes. Copperheads, cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, and the infamous Costa Rican “Two Step” snake. Like the primitive Baptists in Sand Mountain, Alabama, believers will be asked to holler, scream, dance around, and handle the snakes.


That could possibly cut down on attendance, but my, my, what a show.

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