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Posted: January 8, 2010 12:01 a.m.

Have you ever been to your own funeral

I’m not afraid of dying, but I assure you I’m in no rush to prove that point to anyone. So, you can imagine how I reacted years ago when I visited a nice, grassy cemetery plot I’d just acquired and found a freshly-dug grave, all decked out for a funeral. Earlier that week, I’d accepted the plot as a benefit of church membership and had considered it a rather nice gesture. However, I didn’t recall a "use it or lose it" clause in the deal. This particular denomination isn’t known for those kinds of shenanigans.

Now, there was nothing in the hole other than a lot of Georgia red clay and some severed oak tree roots, but it still scared me to pieces. There I was, looking into an empty, open grave meant for me! "Maybe I’m really dead?" "No… I would’ve remembered something like that." Soon, I started wondering what kind of flowers people would be sending to my funeral. "Roses would be nice. ‘You only go once,’ you know." But, since I didn’t see any florists hovering about, and since I was fairly certain I was still alive, I contacted the caretaker for a second opinion. If my head had been clearer, I would’ve called my insurance agent. He can be trusted to determine if I’m dead or alive. He’s got big money riding on the outcome, and he pulls for my side, as long as I pay my premiums on time.

Fortunately, the caretaker confirmed that I wasn’t one of the walking undead. This was just a simple clerical error. The cemetery records had been jumbled up for as long as he could remember, and I’d been assigned a plot that someone else already owned. Normally, this mistake would’ve remained hidden for decades, but the rightful owner had died only days after the accidental double-booking. Since this was a coveted "prime location" hole-in-the-ground, I was to be reassigned to a new "resting place" way over by the highway. First come, first served, you know. Well, normally I hate being downgraded to lower-quality accommodations, but on that brisk day, as I stared down into a cold, red-mud pit, I decided it would be best to shut my mouth and move on. That new location by the highway sounded just fine to me. I bet any decent insurance agent would agree with me on that one.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers, can be reached at davmccoy@bellsouth.net.

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