There’s absolutely nothing more annoying for a control freak like me than to relinquish important decisions to someone else. For instance, the painful subject of death came up recently, and I realized: "Hey! I won’t be in charge once I’m gone!" That’s not good. Since I like control, I should rattle off a few demands while I still can. I won’t be able to enforce my wishes when I’m six-feet-under, but maybe a few kind souls will slip a copy of this column to the undertaker.
First, don’t let anyone stick me in any kind of synthetic fiber. Oh, back in 1974, I was a knockout in a double-knit polyester leisure suit, but times have changed, and I promise you I’ll pop out of that pine box before I’ll slumber in an eternal synthetic itch. And, if you think it might be entertaining to see what happens if you mix me and a polyester suit, you’d better think again. If I have to stomp back from Heaven with a nice Brooks Brothers pinstripe wool suit, I’m going to be rather mad, and I’m going to stick you with the bill.
Second, watch what you say when I’m gone. I’ll be listening, and if anyone says, "I’m so sorry for your loss," I’ll haunt them for a fortnight. I hate that phrase almost as much as I hate polyester shirts. Listen, if you’re at my funeral then it’s your loss too. Unless you want your chandeliers to rattle at midnight, find a better way to express your deepest sympathies to my heirs.
Finally, have a few giggles and chortles. Tell stories. Read all three of my funnier columns. Show some old home movies. As long as I’m reposing in natural fiber, and no one is talking about how sorry they are, you can eat BBQ, drink gallons of iced tea and have a party for all I care. And make sure you serve good, hot, strong coffee — strong enough to wake the dead! And please try that — try to wake the dead. Boil that coffee for four hours, and then slip a thick cupful down my gullet. If it doesn’t revive me, it might give me just enough energy for one last statement, one last little pittance. Maybe I’ll whisper, "I’m so sorry for your loss." It’ll sound a whole lot more believable coming from me than from you.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.