It’s been a week since I lost my old granny. I don’t know why, but I’m taking it a lot harder than I thought I would. Trying not to be gloomy around here, but today is Halloween and that’s when we’re supposed to think about the dead. As if there were any stopping me.
On Halloween, the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and the spirits of our ancestors are able to reach through with their bony fingers and offer us candy and watch us in the bathroom, or something. I’m not really clear on the details.
I don’t care about the bulk of my ancestors. There are the immediate ones who mean a lot to me - Grandma Jackie, and Grandma Jean, who I’m not worried about now that I know she is partying with Elvis, and my very distant ancestors like Turkana Boy, who is chatting in near-words with his primitive buddies in Caveman Heaven.
But in the space between Turkana Boy and Grandma Jackie, there are countless generations of foreign strangers, yammering away in their native tongues, and kneeling and scraping and bowing and doing whatever else you do in Heaven, and looking down disapprovingly at me, the current owner of what’s left of their genes, failing to pass them on to another generation while I do things that make their ghoulish asses cringe in mortification. And that’s fine by me. The feeling is mutual. I don’t much approve of their antics in Ghost Space either.
Way uptown, I passed a memorial shrine in front of a tenement building. A stuffed toy of the variety frequently won at carnivals in the shape of a doberman dog, was lashed to a tree with bungee cords. Underneath, a cluster of bleeding saint candles were flickering away in the damp morning, with a sign reading “In Memory Of So and So” stapled up under the ass of the carnival dog.
I appreciate the sentiment here. Truly. But to my own loved ones who may read this, I’d like these wishes on the record for when the inevitable comes to pass.
When I die, even if it is untimely, even if I am creamed by a taxi while crossing Fifth Avenue, even if I choke on a wonton while eating microwaved Chinese food over the sink for breakfast in my underwear, even if I run into a burning building to save a priceless comic book, even if I slip while cleaning the shower and crack my head open on the faucet and the weinerdog comes in and eats my face, even if I am smashed to a pulp by a falling gargoyle - no matter how I go out, please do not remember me by stacking a pile of junk in the street, where strangers will ruminate on the kind of person who could be summed up in death by a flammable Scooby Doo filled with billions of foam pellets and a couple of creepy Jesus candles.
When I die:
- Remember me by cleaning your house. I appreciate a clean house, and my soul will smile as it ascends into the ether.
- Remember me by looking for hidden dicks in billboards. Find them even if they are not there.
- Remember me when you drink gin, or when someone farts on a bus and thinks you can’t hear it because they have headphones on, or when somebody rings your doorbell at 8 AM on a Sunday and offers you a religious tract and you answer the door with your junk poking out of the slot in your underwear. You didn’t do it on purpose - It was God’s doing, because I am dead, and I have His ear now.
Remember me in profane and disrespectful things. Have parties and laugh about that awful thing I used to do. Remember me as crude and coarse and sometimes unpleasant, but never really bad or ill intentioned. Remember me when you watch The Thing, and know that the first thing I did when I got to the afterlife was nutpunch Wilford Brimley, and the second thing I did was eat an entire bowl full of Cadbury Creme Eggs.
I was a good person.
And now I am watching you in the bathroom.