Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Happy Death

I've never particularly looked forward to my death, but one possible reason for starting to get excited about it is that I've realised it means people will start to say nice things about me. And that's what we all want, really, isn't it, hmmm? Isn't it?

I'm increasingly fascinated by the way people can die and suddenly be referred to in exclusively glowing terms, regardless of the trails of sin they might have left behind. Dead people always seem to be the ones who were "the life and soul of the party", the ones blessed with "infectious laughter", and who "never had a bad word to say about anybody". I'm yet to meet anyone in real life who can boast all of these qualities. It could be that I mix with the wrong sorts, but I sense it's more likely to be due to the fact that nobody is that good; dead or alive. Let's get real and pin down the dead for what they really were. Sometimes they did good things, and yet sometimes they made mistakes - just like everyone else.

One of my favourite sickening posthumous tributes is the one where people claim the dead one "would light up a room when they walked in". I'm quite, quite certain that I've never managed to do this. And certainly not unless I know exactly where the light switch is. When I walk into rooms I generally find everyone suddenly stops talking amongst themselves and opt to look at their shoes instead. No illumination is involved. If you do happen to know someone capable of lighting up a room when they enter it, however, please point me in their direction as they could prove very handy to call for in the event of a power cut.

In many ways, all of this amounts to yet another sensible reason for faking your own death in a similar way to canoeing's John Darwin, 57. Just so you can be certain of actually getting to hear all of your tributes, rather than having to rely on Heaven and such things existing. And even if it does exist, do they have audio facilities? Does the Earth coverage have a 'closedown' like television in the olden days (the 1990s)? These are the pressing questions. It's probably best to just stick around and enjoy the praise first hand. It would be a bit like the episode of Arrested Development, if you've seen it, where the grandfather pretends to be dead and hides in the attic of his house. He ends up watching his own memorial service taking place in his living room through a ventilation grid, and is greatly moved by the emotional tributes from his family. In essence, the moral of this story is that if we really do mean the things we say about the dead, we should start to tell them when they're alive. Distorting the truth post-death doesn't help anybody. Yet more 'How To Be A Good Human' tutorials coming up soon, by the way.

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