Better Obituaries for Baby Boomers

The top score in today’s obituaries for dirt nap goes to “passed away” closely followed by “went to be with the Lord.” And “died” gets honorable mention.

I don’t know about you but I want something livelier when I cash in. Here’s a better one also in today’s paper: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Bertie Valentine on January 11, 2011.” Better but no blue ribbon.

Another one announced that “Beverly Miller, age 87, peacefully joined the Lord and her husband.” Peacefully? As opposed to

kicking and arm flailing accompanied by a stream of profanities? But at least Bertie and Beverly exited with a little more flair than most stiffs.

A better one announced “A Shining Light was extinguished.” That would be John Diaz. At least he wasn’t “rubbed out.” Or maybe he was. Most obituaries don’t announce the cause of death. Although it’s an easy guess when it concludes with “In lieu of flowers, please send a contribution to The American Heart Association.”

Anyhow, I was totally impressed with the announcement that Toni Klavitch was gone. Here we go:

“Webster’s dictionary defines an obituary as ‘a published notice of death, sometimes with a brief biography of the deceased.’ By that definition the passing of our beloved Toni Klavitch should be noted in ‘The Living Section’ of the newspaper.”

That was because Toni was a live wire bringing joy to everyone whose path she crossed, or so it said. And would you believe it, right next to her published sendoff is her mortician’s announcement that he too was gone! Yessir. Jeffery Linebarger bought it on the same day. I can just see them, standing in line together outside the Pearly Gates. Astonished, Toni looks at Jeffery and says “Holy sh… I mean, what are you doing here? Wait just a dadgum minute! Is this about the funeral bill? I’m sure my family will pay!”

But poor old Jeff just got the bland “died on Friday” treatment. Sad isn’t it. The undertaker just “died.” He wasn’t “called home” or “entered into eternal rest” or “went to be with his Father.” Died.

We need to do something about that. Not the mortician’s plain obituary. Ours. The baby boomers. Why not plan ahead and write something touching and creative? Do it yourself, and be sure that your loved ones know where to find it. It would be like attending your own funeral, which you will anyway, but I think you get the idea.

Are you a golfer? How about “Our beloved Henry Doots sank his last putt and went to that 19th hole in the sky last Friday. An avid golfer, Henry never broke 100 even with a million mulligans but at least he went down swinging.”

What about you amateur pilots? “Jerry Plinth pancaked the runway permanently on Thursday. He is survived by his wife Margaret who was always scared to death to fly with him, two frightened children, Josh and Peggy, four grandchildren, and several great grandchildren too young to know a flap from a strut. In lieu of flowers please send a donation to The Pie in the Sky Club care of the municipal airport.”

Are you an exercise nut? “Kenneth Bowers turned off his treadmill for the last time Monday. After his heart attack at age 42 Kenneth was determined to live to be 100. Alas, he missed the mark by 38 years, but at least he died healthy.”

Maybe your hobby is bowling. “Jacob Wilmuth rolled his last gutterball this past weekend. Jake once got a perfect score at Wonder Bowl Lanes in Klamath Falls – Zero. His drinking may have had something to do with that.”

Anyhow, you get the idea. Why wait for someone to write your obituary for you? Don’t you want to be remembered the way you would like? Of course you do! And you don’t even have to write it in the third person.

“Hi folks. This is Clarence. I died recently. I lived a long and mostly contented life. I never could please my wife, but I died trying.”


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