This gem came from my hometown newspaper, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Isn’t it great? I don’t like to beat around the bush, so I can respect a guy that just gets straight to the point.
I cannot count how many times someone has sent me a link to an obituary or a link to an NPR story about writing obituaries or, just a couple of weeks ago, a link to a new documentary about obituaries. Do you see a pattern here? I love obituaries. I even subscribed to the Sunday edition of the Star Tribune so I could peruse the obit page every week.
I’m not gonna lie. Some of them are snoozefests. No offense to the dearly departed or, rather, the person in charge of writing the obit, but when all I know is that the poor guy worked at X corporation for 35 years and was preceded in death by both of his parents, well, that’s not interesting. Not only is it not interesting, but I think it does a disservice to the person who died. C’mon, I want to know what they loved (the color yellow? suitcases with wheels?), what they hated (back stabbing motherfu*^ers that still owe them money?) and everything in between. Life is more than your job or who your second cousin is.
It is for this reason that I have put my dear friend, Rebecca, in charge of writing my obituary. She’s funny and she knows me. She’ll probably talk about my aforementioned crabbiness, my love of Chapstick and how I’m late for everything. How I love Prince and the Golden Girls and how I hate the song “Rockin’ Robin” with every fiber of my being. Anyway, you get the idea.
For those of you who don’t typically spend your free time reading about dead people, I thought I would share a couple of my favorite obituaries. After reading each of these, you get a sense of who these people REALLY were and all of the little things in life that they appreciated (or didn’t). A person’s uniqueness doesn’t die when they do and it breaks my heart to see a plain old boring, I-lived-here-I-worked-here-I-died-on-this-date story. Remember this when Aunt Janice dies and she needs a work up for your local newspaper. Deal? Deal.
Meet Jim Groth, whose obituary stated, “his ashes will be kept around as long as they match the decor.”
Christian Hacker, a New Yorker who liked to collect junk. This obituary reminded me of something I would write for my dad, who likes to collect…..stuff. Mr. Hacker’s obit stated that the “car parts sales and funeral services will be held at 11:30 a.m.”
William Ziegler was a firefighter from New Orleans who realized that “running away from burning buildings made more sense than running toward them” before quitting his job.
And, finally, Emily DeBrayda Phillips. She wrote her own obituary and claimed to be a championship “Hiney Getter.” She ended her story by saying, poignantly, “So…I was born; I blinked; and it was over.”
What do you think? Has anyone else found any that they chuckled, cried or guffawed at?