Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gorilla Suit

Emmanuel was washing my armpits. We were talking about death. (Emmanuel is one of my P.A.s, which is the acronym I use when referring to the dozens of dozens of people I’ve employed over the last four decades to put on my pants, lift me out of bed, wipe my butt, etc. P.A. is short for personal assistant. It’s not the best job title. It sounds like I’m some sort of Puff Daddy and these are my dutiful sycophants who walk beside me on sunny days holding my parasol and who arrange my lunch dates with my broker. Some people call those who do this work attendants. But that sounds too zoological. Monkeys have attendants. I don’t need someone to watch over me or to flip me a treat when I complete a task.)

Anyway, we were talking about death and I said, “So I told Rahnee when I’m gone, just dump my dead ass in Lake Michigan!”

And Emmanuel said, “That’s what I did with my grandmother.” He said he took grandma out onto the pier at Morse Avenue beach at night. And I listened with my eyes wide open in shock because I pictured him in black commando clothes, his dreadlocks flying in the wind, hustling across the deserted beach with a weighty burlap sack flung back over his shoulder. He took grandma up to the railing, he said. Then, he said, he opened the urn and sprinkled her into the lake.

I exhaled. I explained to him that when I said dump my dead ass in Lake Michigan, I meant it literally. I told Rahnee to stuff me in the trunk of the van, drive out to a boat ramp, open the hatch and boot me out.

Now Emmanuel looked at me with wide open shock eyes. But being dumped is the cheapest, most sensible and considerate way for me to go. I hate wakes anyway. They spackle you with makeup and put you on display. And then your loved ones, in their time of smothering grief, are bound by etiquette to suck it up and receive guests like a tea party.

Then everyone watches as they put you in the ground. And they top it off by presenting your battered loved ones with a bill for a zillion dollars. Screw all that. I told Rahnee not to piss away her money on coffins or funerals or burial plots or headstones. Just fill my pockets with lead, dump me in the lake, take the money saved and treat herself to a week in Aruba or something. That’s the way to grieve.

There is one tempting scenario, however, under which I would consider being on public display. I might agree to be waked if, and only if, I am laid out in a gorilla suit. Wouldn’t the wake be lots more fun then? It would sure make things easier on the kids. My posthumous fashion statement could easily go viral and soon everyone would be doing it. There will be a catchy new euphemism for terminal illness. You go to the doctor for your test results and you say, “Give it to me straight, doc.” And the doctor says, “Well, let me put it this way. I think you should get fitted for a gorilla suit.”

Or maybe I’ll have them put a gorilla suit on me before they send me to the crematorium. Those poor people who work in a crematorium. They could use a good laugh.

I might even consider being buried in a plot with a headstone, under one condition. Rahnee has to have her grave right next to mine. And on her headstone must be inscribed I’M WITH STUPID with an arrow pointed at me.

But I don’t know. Those are expensive gags. I should stick with being dumped.


  1. I've had this talk too. I want to be cremated immediately (no embalming... too freaking expensive). Mike and our girls should take my ashes to Key West, have a nice vacation, take me out to the sunset celebration they have every night there, and throw me in the Gulf while enjoying the alcoholic beverage of choice. Although, i do like the "I'm with stupid" idea, I think I'm sticking with my original idea.

  2. I don't know, Mike. I see a lot of holes in all of your schemes. I think the best bet is for you to just start wearing the gorilla suit 24/7 to make it easier for all of us, just in case... ;)

  3. Undertaker: Well there are three things we can do with your mother. We can burn her, bury her, or dump her.

    Patron: Dump her?

    U: Dump her in the Thames.

    P: (still aghast) What?

    U: Oh, did you like her?

    P: Yes!

    U: Oh well, we won't dump her, then.
    (That's where the record stuck, the record stuck, the record stuck, the record stuck)

  4. Actually, since I'm highly claustrophobic, I asked to be cremated to make sure I've crossed over. Your plan sounds good enough, but there are places now that go for "natural burial," by which they mean direct burial in a container (cardboard?) that will decompose. I guess you could ask for a tree to be be planted over you.

    The family joke is that the reason I want to be cremated is so that my wife can pour my ashes in the concrete steps of a new McMansion and thus continue to walk all over me for the rest of her life.


  5. my artist brother-in-law has always said he prefers to be cremated, have his ashes compressed into a piece of chalk, and then to have another artist use it to do a drawing of him. i, on the other hand, would prefer to be disposed of by catapult. i imagine my corpse laid out in my finest, hands crossed over my chest, surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances. all very proper. but then at "amen", someone cuts the cord (literally) and i am flung high and far, end over end, arms and legs akimbo, into some forest, lake or ocean. maybe i burst into flames or something in mid-air. my hope is that it would be funny as hell.

    1. OK. Love it. With luck you could land in the middle of a tour group at someplace like Stonehenge or other suitably Historic and Mysterious place, depending the country you are in.


  6. you had me laughing out loud at "I think you should get fitted for a gorilla suit.” A nice break from missing Laura Hershey.

  7. I soooo have a blog crush on this post!