I sure do love to read obituaries. I’m not too fond of the sad ones where a child dies, but I like to read about the old timers. See where they were born and grew up. What kind of kooky names they had (“Ida Belle Reimerstiller Jones Kreilcamp. Known to her friends as Betty.”) Try to imagine what they were really like, despite all the niceness of the obituary (“Betty was always smiling. She never met a person who didn’t love her.” You just know that wasn’t true!)
I suppose I’m most fascinated with the deceased who are my age. Were they single? (so sad. What was the matter with them that they were still single at that age?) Kids? Religious? Do they have a recent picture or just some old snapshot. (For some reason a snapshot seems extra sad. Didn’t they have anyone they liked enough to get a portrait taken for?)
In our newspaper In Oregon it was popular to put a title or phrase under the person’s name. Something like “World’s Best Grandma” or “We’ll always love you Joe.” Ocassionally you’d get something zany like “Gone Fishin”. Did people really think he’d gone fishin’? What exactly were they trying to say? Just that he loved fishing? Then why didn’t they just say that? (“Fisherman Extraordinaire”). Or “Forever Young”, except that she was 87 and pretty much died of old age.
The thing that drives me absolutely batty, though, is when a cause of death is not listed. If it’s anyone under the age of 75, I want to know what happened! Even if it’s a drug overdose (especially if it is.) You know people are going to be asking. Might as well just nip all the rumors in the bud, I say. Sometimes there are little clues like, “in lieu of flowers we ask that donations be made to the American Breast Cancer Society.” But I’m not exactly Remington Steele. Give me some hints!
All I know is this, I’d better write my obituary right now. I’m not going to take the chance of my swan song getting messed up.