Curmudgeon club will pad your obituary
Burt's Eye View
I need to start padding my obituary. Otherwise, it’s going to read, “Who?”
I’ve taken to glancing at obituaries lately and noticed that every last one of them is for a wonderful person who was loved by all.
I tried being wonderful once but it was exhausting. I gave it up after three and a half minutes.
Obituaries bubble over with glowing phrases such as, “He was a kind and generous person.”
Mine would read more along the lines of, “He was a kind of grumpy old coot who generously gave his wife more headaches than she could handle.”
I’ve read that the dearly departed “valued family and friends above all, and never missed a chance to gather with them on all occasions.”
Unless I do something to change it, mine will read, “Burt once stood in a freezing rain trying to catch a cold so he could get out of going to the church social” or “He only showed up for the cake.”
In short, in the time I have left on this earth, I need to pad my obituary.
When I was in college, advisers badgered me to join this organization or volunteer for that event because, “It will look good on your resume.” I needed to pad my resume.
Bosses pushed me to work on this project or meet that deadline because, “It will look good on your performance review.”
Now investment people are warning me, “If you want to stand any chance of retiring, you’d better pad that nest egg.”
But no one has taken the time to counsel me on how to pad my obituary.
I’m thinking there needs to be a club for curmudgeons. We’ll call it the Society of Great Family People of Awesome Good Deeds Who are Loved by All. That right there pads the obituary with the right sort of sentiments.
The curmudgeon club will offer courses on how we can improve our obituaries, covering topics like “Learn to Smile, Even When it Hurts,” “How to Not Cross the Street to Avoid Saying Hello” and “Birthday Parties Won’t Kill You.”
Next, the club will teach us how to spin some of our grouchier traits into more obituary-pleasing twists.
Did wacky Aunt Gertrude squeeze your chubby cheeks and coo that you’d be president some day? Instead of noting that you spit up on her, your obit will state that even as a child, you were marked for greatness.
When your parents forced you to babysit younger brothers and sisters, were there by some miracle just as many siblings as you started with left by the time your parents came home? Then you were a conscientious caretaker who executed responsibility with astounding thoroughness.
If you didn’t get thrown out of college, we believe that means you graduated with distinction — even if the distinction is that you only did laundry once every six months.
What if you were fired from three or four careers? Then you were an innovator who discovered different methods of doing your job, and you were a leader who wasn’t afraid to strike out on your own.
It’s all in how the deed is phrased.
The best part of the curmudgeon club will be the motto: “He (or she) was loved by all.” All members will be authorized to quote the motto in their obituary.
Consider it padded.
— Send more obituary padding to Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.