Even though I’m well into mid-life and already straddling the age when men start dropping like flies, I still haven’t drawn up a will – living or otherwise. I haven’t had “the discussion” with any of my friends or co-workers and none of my relatives will return my phone calls, so if I suddenly meet with my demise, no one will know what do to with all my earthly belongings, money, assets and more importantly, my corpse.
Granted, there’s not much to haggle over. The list probably wouldn’t fill a double-spaced Post-it, but they’re all I have and I don’t want my TV and water pique going to someone I don’t even know at the Salvation Army. So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to spell out my final wishes. All of you survivors can fight over who gets to implement them.
What you end up doing with my body has a lot to do with the way I go. While I’ll admit that I haven’t exactly treated my body like a temple, my cholesterol is still lower than my I.Q., so there’s not much chance that I’ll have a heart attack during a bowel movement. On the other hand, I am into a lot of high-risk activities like running with scissors and asking women how much they weigh, so there is a good chance that the body you end up with for viewing won’t necessarily be completely intact. If I die playing around with my chainsaw, you’ll need to borrow an arm, leg or a foot from the mortuary to shove into my funeral suit. If one of my handguns misfired, you might need to fill in the damage to my face with some Spackle, then cover it with a heavy layer of Maybelline. All I ask is that the parts match and I retain a modicum of my original ethnicity.
Even though I haven’t practiced Catholicism since I graduated from high school, I want a funeral service in a big-ass church – the place where my sister married her 5th husband. You can get the address from her. Most of my friends and co-workers probably won’t attend, but since they all said the next time we meet will be over my dead body, there’s a remote possibility of a heavy turnout and I want the potential to accommodate them all – sort of like Whitney Houston’s service. You just never know how many people I’ve touched during my life and I want to be ready if they decide to pay their last respects.
I’ve also taken the liberty of calling CNN to let them know that I’m making my funeral arrangements and even though I have no idea when I’m going to die – assuming it will be sometime within the next 30 years – they should have a team of crack journalists on standby waiting to cover the breaking news. When I go, people are going to want to know about it. There’s a chance that Brooke Baldwin, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper might either be dead or in nursing homes by then, so here’s the CNN Headquarters phone number: 404-878-1555. Just tell them you want the Breaking News department to know about my passing and they’ll take care of the rest.
The music for the service is also important, so I’ve taken the liberty of drafting a list of my favorite songs about death that I’d like to be played by my favorite band, The Butthole Surfers: “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult, “After You Die” by Tom Waits, “Don’t Need This Body” by John Mellencamp, “Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold This Body Down” by Johnny Cash, “Dead!” by My Chemical Romance and “Done Too Soon” by Neil Diamond. You can throw in a couple of your own if you wish.
I’d like to be entombed in one of those large mausoleums at Forest Lawn, next to George Carlin, Walt Disney, Humphrey Bogart and Michael Jackson. I haven’t left any money to pay for it, so you’ll have to duke it out with my publisher to get him to cough up the settlement from our law suit.
Befitting most Irish Catholics (well, I’m not actually Irish and barely meet the minimal requirements for being a Catholic) I’d like my remaining friends and relatives – at least the ones not in prison or rehab – to throw a huge wake in my honor. I’d like the booze to run like a river. Even though I haven’t had a drink since the time I drove into Lake Pontchatrain, there’s no reason why everyone else shouldn’t have a good time. You’ll find the guest list underneath my mattress, assuming it wasn’t destroyed during the shootout.
Finally, instead of moping around, wearing black for the three months following my passing, I’d like everyone to remember me as a guy who relished life and only cheated the people who deserved it. In that vein, I’d like you to throw a huge party with everyone wearing the costume that they think best represented my life. I might suggest Hitler, a blood-sucking vampire, a pimp or a kid wearing a dunce cap. I’m sure you’ll think of something. And to celebrate the impact that I’ve made on each of your lives, I’d like you to wake up every morning, embracing the one character trait you learned from me while I was on earth. Chiseling, self-centered, cheap, fornicating, loathsome, stinky, pathetic and evil immediately come to mind. Or, you can think of one, yourself. After I’m dead, I won’t be able to continue doing everything for you.
My attorney has a list of everything I’ve stolen from you and my fellow in-patients over the course of my life, so see him if you have any lingering resentments and are seeking restitution. You’ll have to act fast, though. I’ve requested that I be buried with as many material possessions as they can cram into my coffin. After I got caught stealing from the donation plate in mass, the nuns reminded me that, “You can’t take it with you when you go.” As my final gesture on earth, I intend to prove them wrong. Oh, and one more thing… Shut the lights off after I’m gone. I won’t be back.