My family was gathered around the dinner table the other night (it was a special occasion, otherwise we’d be split off into of two rooms, watching either Time Team or a seemingly endless collection of Community DVDs,) and over dessert, we somehow got onto the topic of funerals. Specifically, my Dad’s, which is hopefully a long way off. Mind you, he’s had so many “near death experiences” that it is, truthfully, always at least a little bit planned.* I may or may not have a local funeral parlour on speed dial in my mobile phone. I may have another one written down somewhere in case the first one goes out of business. Basically, he was laying out plans, in which, Death at a Funeral style, one of his three children walks up to the casket, knocks on the lid and peeks inside, just to be sure, at which point another one of us will press play on a pre-recorded loop of him asking to be let out. It’s clear, that as a family, we have a unique attitude towards death and dying. Most funny stories from my Dad’s side of the family involve something like; “Remember that time, after the wake…” or, “Yeah, they defrosted her ‘specially for the viewing.” We’re a sentimental bunch.
All five of us were at the table, my Mum, Dad, Little Bear Grylls and the Music Snob (upon whom I will eventually bestow a better GTN pseudonym, I promise,) and me. Now, as it so happens, the Music Snob was kind of on fire that day, comically speaking. Dad had clearly thought this thing through, and was making a careful delivery when- BAM- joke intercepted by TMS, run through the defensive line of the sport of your choice and straight through the hoop/goal post/net.
DAD: Ok, so at my funeral,
ME: Aw, come on Dad…
DAD: No, no, listen, (*maniacal grin*) at my funeral, I want one of you kids to walk up to the casket, or jar, or whatever I’m in- I want you to get up in front of all of those people, the 20-30,00 people-
TMS: Who have come for the free sausage sizzle,
DAD: Yeah, yeah, wait- what?
At which point we all broke down into hysterical laughter. No one’s sure where we’re going to get the money for the sausages from, but if we buy a big enough BBQ, we’ll save on crematorium fees. We love a bargain almost as much as we love each other.
That last sentence was so sickly sweet that my dog started eating grass. I am sorry.
*Several of my friends think he may be the second coming. Several conversations have developed thusly: “Magpie, do you realise that your Dad has come back from the dead more times than Jesus?” I then tend to inform them of my belief that any hypothetical messiah would be a lot more judicious about farting in public.