Fule for Thought
I’ve hit the age of 56 and I’m definitely on the “homestretch” of teaching, but hopefully not Life! The other night, I was looking through very old family albums, mainly of my late parents’ family members I don’t even know. People seemed so serious in old photos. So many of these relatives are very serious and posed in very formal ways. It’s a huge contrast to now, where our phones can take photos … kids send mini story lines via snap chats, and they record all their life experiences on selfies. It became a gloomy experience, because I’ve lost who these people are, and it’s sad to think most of them are now gone, and are nameless in our albums. It’s no surprise that I became a bit blue and melancholy.
For good or bad, when I face something really serious, I tend to deflect that darkness with humour. It’s not that I’m brave at all, I mean I haven’t yet faced a major health scare, so it’s not courage. It’s more to do with facing death and the magnitude of it. I guess like many of you, I’m scared of that mortality, and of the unknown after it. So … I try to find ways to make light of it, so it doesn’t drive me crazy, and I don’t dwell on it. At this older age of mine, I’m starting to look through obituaries more, too. Maybe I’m just trying to double check my name isn’t there yet, but it’s a habit I want to break! I guess that’s why in one of my recent columns, I wrote about making serious changes to my lifestyle. I’m trying to eat better, exercise more, and reduce stress. Sure, I know you’re probably thinking: “what kind of stress can a high school teacher have, when he’s a ½ time PE teacher and he gets all that time off!”
All I know, is that I am trying to make sure that I give myself a fighting chance to live as long, and as healthily as possible.
After all, I’ve mentioned this before. My wife has real longevity in her family, I don’t, and I’m five years older! That’s why I sometimes introduce myself as Debbie’s first husband! It does bug me though, that some other old chump may wind up with my stuff (and Deb)!
I’ve also found that my pals and I are spending way too many conversations on the size and conditions of our prostates, recollections of those regular exams, and our late night “potty trips!”
So please understand that while this may feel like a darker column, I’ve also done some “wandering” through some humorous tombstone epitaphs. One of my favorites is the man whose tombstone merely reads: “I Told You I Was Sick!” That one is loaded with humour, but may also throw out a wee bit of guilt! Another man’s read: “If You’re Reading This, You Desperately Need A Hobby.”
It does bring a smile to me, to know that this man will bring smiles to unknown people who wander by and read it! Another one that caught my eye had a “hint” of sarcasm: “Here Lies An Athiest … All Dressed Up And No Place To Go.”
That one has sarcasm with a bit of advice thrown in! It made me think that even if you don’t believe in God, why not? It sure couldn’t hurt!
Some past celebrities have some cool epitaphs, too. Merv Griffin’s (former talk show host) reads: “I Will NOT Be Right Back After This Message!”
Obviously, that’s a play on his TV messages before commercials! Another celebrity who pokes fun at his own grave is Rodney Dangerfield. His tombstone says “There Goes The Neighborhood!”
The tombstone for Mel Blanc (the voice for many cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig), merely says: “That’s All Folks!”
Even some dog owners had a lighter approach to a lost family pet. They wrote: “Rex … You Were Our Furry Pride And Joy … Until We Let You Get Walked By That Neighbour Boy!”
I guess in this one they went for honesty mixed with humour. Too bad their dog only knows two tricks now: “Dead Dog,” and “Stay!”
Oops, there I go again using humour as my crutch!
I haven’t yet decided what my own epitaph might say, but I do think I’ll try to add something odd, or quirky! I’d like to think that if anyone comes to visit my resting place, they’d go away with a little smile, not tears. One American lady had a city parking meter attached to her tombstone! I don’t know if she got a lot of parking tickets, or was taking a “shot” at her city, but it is pretty funny to think of having your visit on a timed meter! I do know this … when they play songs at my funeral, I want the last one to be Trooper playing: “We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)” because that song always makes me smile, and life is short!