Funerals in this country follow a rather predictable pattern….some pretty flowers, a little heart-warming, tear-jerking music and lots of blah, blah about what a wonderful person so-and-so was. For many people, this routine is comforting. Personally, I’d prefer a less conservative approach.
The dear departed are probably going to a better place (seriously, how much worse could it be?) so it should be a day for rejoicing. The recent trend is towards a more celebratory atmosphere and maybe if funerals were as one-of-a-kind as the individual, we’d actually start to look forward to them. I’ve come up with a few ideas for deathday celebrations that you’re welcome to borrow, but don’t be afraid to improvise and come up with your own. We human’s are a diverse bunch of whackos, so make that final exit as unique as you are.
When you’re making out your termination papers and setting up the plans for your family to follow when you’re outta here…there’s no reason it has to be another run-of-the-mill, hohum-another-dead-guy kinda day. The following list has a few ideas to get you started on your own path to perdition.
1)A movie theme might work well for some…if you were a couch-potato in life, request a comfy, couch-shaped coffin and a remote control. Already, you’re half-way to a perfect deathday. Throw in a popcorn machine, a big screen TV and 3D glasses for everyone… now we’re starting to get excited about attending. Remember, it’s your day, so you get to choose the movie.
2)Dressing up is considered de rigueur at funerals, to show respect for the dead. But if you hated wearing a suit and tie in life you could request mourners wear a copy of your favorite ‘Zombie’ tee (these can be pre-ordered if you’re the organized type) and start the day in a more relaxed atmosphere….unless you pop up out of your coffin with a knife and fork in your hand, then things might get a little tense. There are as many variations on this theme as there are favourite tshirts…so personalize, personalize!
3)If you’re an actor/actress, why not get a stand-in for the day? In this case, it’s probably even better if they don’t look like you… just pick any old body off the street. Seeing the wrong body in the coffin will surely stir up a little excitement and provide mourners months of additional entertainment trying to figure out who that was, and where you are.
4)This isn’t my personal favourite, cuz clowns kinda freak me out, but maybe a circus theme would be your idea of the ideal deathday. Jugglers, clowns, an elephant or two (optional) and twisted-balloon-animal handouts for everyone. This theme works particularly well if you ever worked for the circus, were a juggler or clown. Otherwise it’s just kind of weird.
5)Pinatas…let’s talk deathday pinatas. I like this one. A pinata is so versatile……have it made in advance to your specifications. If you were an accountant in life, why not a entertain your guests with a giant pencil-shaped pinata stuffed with dollar bills? Maybe they’ll even forget how boring you really were. Or if you happened to be an obnoxious bastard, attach a pinata to your coffin and let everyone take a whack at you. This release of tension is guaranteed to boost your ratings and maybe even engender a kind word or two.
6)Music is an excellent way to adapt your celebration to suit your personality. Don’t settle for ‘Amazing Grace’ just because everyone else does. If you’re into Radiohead maybe “High and Dry” would be a better selection for you. I like blues, so “Someday the Sun Won’t Shine For You” by Jethro Tull might be appropriate for me. However I’d advise caution when making this kind of last request….it’s bound to produce more of that weeping and wailing thing that can quickly ruin a good party. A good DJ should know how to keep the party upbeat, so spending a little time now to find the right one would be a wise way to start your deathday planning.
7)Scavenger hunts are fantastic….I love ’em. Write out your list beforehand …if you need help coming up with a list, google has endless ideas for your search list. Here again, this is an easy theme to make your own….use some of your own belongings…or relate the items to your own hobby, etc. Make sure some of the items are hidden under and around you in your coffin; this way you will be involved in the fun as people dig around you looking for stuff.
8)Remember, you don’t have to take it lying down…..this is such a basic fact that most people forget to take advantage of the opportunity. Why just lie there if you can stand up in the corner, or better yet, sit yourself in the front row and sport your 3D glasses with the rest of them. There are endless variations on this basic premise…just run with it, so to speak. Buttresses, pulleys, and some simple frameworks can create some amazing effects.
9)The following idea can be time-consuming, so if you’re planning on making this idea part of your last hurrah, be sure to get on it now. To avoid all the usual blah, blah, pre-write everything for your friends and family to say at your deathday celebration. For goodness sake, take pity on those left behind and do this pre-planning now. I would suggest a selection of the best jokes you’ve ever heard. Alternatively, if you have no sense of humour, just give us all the real dirt on your life…. you’re not the angel people would portray you as, so give us the down-low and we’ll have a bit of fun with that. This one’s a great crowd pleaser and is sure to attract an audience. …a perfect choice if you have no friends anyway.
10)Lastly, if you want to really go out in style…..make it a SURPRISE party. Don’t tell anyone you’re dead. Granted, it’s difficult to pull off, but it can be done. Unavoidably, one or two people usually find out ahead of time, but that’s okay. Bribe the nurses and doctors if necessary to keep the cat in the bag and then have a trusted family member send out your pre-printed invitations. Tell everyone it’s come-as-you-are, potluck and voila….a perfect deathday celebration.
What are you’re last requests? I’d love to hear them, even if it’s just a request for me to stay the hell away from you and your family.
Hopefully, my own deathday is a long way in the future because I’m not finished my planning yet, but if some of you adopt these ideas at least I might be invited to a few fun funerals in the meantime.
(If you’re pre-planning, all the above merchandise can be found on my zazzle website…see link on right)