The Final Page of the Notebook (tf)

I think everybody has a secret desire to attend their own wake…..incognito. To slip in the back and see who comes and how grief-stricken and/or full of crap they are. How many ex’s and long-lost friends and out-of-town relatives and former co-workers will take the time out to either genuinely mourn….or to make sure I’m really dead. It seems pointless to publicly miss me when I’m dead and can’t derive any satisfaction from the display. The corpse makes for poor company at a funeral. It’s always very quiet and dull and pale and way overdressed. Everybody says the same things too. “Oh, he looks so peaceful”. Well, yea. Death will do that to a person. And, “he was a good man”. If I was a jerk would somebody blurt that out to my loved ones?

After the coffin visit, wakes aren’t all that somber really. Everybody mingles and gets a chance to see people they haven’t seen since the last time somebody they had in common died. Everybody talks kinda quietly but there’s always a lot of low-key laughter and hugging and back-slapping. Some folks feel the urge to sit in the seats in the main mourning area for a bit, to show some solidarity. Others browse to the various other rooms, looking for familiar faces. Most just pass through the line and head straight out the door. It’s the thought that counts and all that. Sign the book and the tie is coming off before you reach the parking lot.  We’ve all done it. I can’t help but hope that folks feel the urge to linger when I’m laid out. I’d like to think I’m worth a few minutes lingering at least.

I’m not into the whole heaven and hell thing. I’m the type that requires evidence and it seems sorely lacking. It’s a nice thought though. Well, the heaven part anyway. Hell, not so much.

Much of my youth was spent being taught by nuns, so heaven always seemed a pipe-dream anyway. A place nearly impossible to get in when the mortal sins were listed on one side of the notebook and the check marks filled in on the other. Hell, on the other hand…..well…..all roads led to hell. Anything from a hot-dog on a Lenten Friday to some impure moments in the bathroom. It hardly seemed a fair fight. The folks I was taught to emulate all seemed insufferably dull. Heaven may have been preferable, but it seemed too filled with Catholics for my tastes.

So I stopped worrying about being punished and pretty much just got on with it….doing the best I could under the circumstances. And that’s where I am now.  I try to do the right thing and if I have to do the wrong thing I try to either minimize the damage to others or give myself the opportunity to blame somebody else. All in all, not a bad way to live. I’m not the best of ’em, but I’m not nearly the worst either.

We are all mortal. Kennedy said that I think. Seems rather obvious but then most truths are.

–Tom Flannery

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~ by admin on May 10, 2011.

One Response to “The Final Page of the Notebook (tf)”

  1. Wakes and weddings, a place to renew old friendships and hatreds

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