Friday, November 24, 2017

Grateful and Gravely Humorous

Thought for the day:  Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. [William Arthur Ward]

In the United States, we celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday. I suppose from an alien's point of view, some of the traditions associated with that holiday are a bit... strange. As an earthling, I think there's something a teensy bit strange about it, too. I mean, the idea of an annual holiday centered around the expression of gratitude sounds oh-so nice on the surface, but why isn't gratitude something we express every day? Isn't every day filled with blessings? Isn't every day a gift and a miracle? We don't need to shove bread up a turkey's butt  or stuff ourselves to the point of misery every day, but I think the world would be a better place, and we would be infinitely more content earthlings, if we made a conscious effort to express appreciation for the people and things in our lives and to give thanks for them... every day.

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. [Margaret Cousins]

That being said, I'm thankful for you guys. Really. You are all bright spots in my life, and I'm grateful we met through the wonders of the Internet. I'm thankful for humor, too, even if it's sometimes inappropriate. (My bad) I'm also grateful that you guys aren't all judge-y, because that means you won't be too terribly annoyed at me for a re-running the following post, which was originally published right before Thanksgiving, 2014, as Immortal Humor. Enjoy!

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Thought for the day:  Running a cemetery is just like being President: you got a lot of people under you, and nobody's listening.  [Bill Clinton]

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA {Wikipedia]
It isn't my fault. Really. It isn't. I neeeeever would have thought about writing such a weird post as this one is gonna be if it hadn't been for that darned article in the newspaper. Then again, maybe I would have. It has been said that I do occasionally suffer from bouts of sick inappropriate humor.

Anyhow, the article. It was a little bitty filler piece about this year's Atlanta Regional Commission's Developments of Excellence Award, which for the last fifteen years has been presented annually to the location deemed tops in the metro area for livability and sustainability, and for serving as a regional model for future growth. Sounds nice, right? Well, would you believe in this, its sixteenth year, the award was presented to... a cemetery? (Oooh, dontcha know, that had to have ticked off some of those big shot fancy pants developers.)
[Wikipedia]

Now, don't get me wrong. Oakland Cemetery is a very nice cemetery, as far as cemeteries go. Lots of historical figures and famous people buried there... like famed golfer Bobby Jones, and author Margaret Mitchell (Marsh). Lots of really neat statues and such, too. And it's OLD... It was founded in 1850, so there are some really interesting old markers.

But does any of that equate to livability??? I mean, it's not like people are exactly dying to move into the place.

Oh shut up. You know what I mean. (hehe)

early 1900 postcard [wikimedia commons]

It isn't like people send postcards from the cemetery and tell everyone, Miss you. Wish you were here... 

or Please stop by, and have a nice stiff drink with me. (Or maybe a tall cold one?)

Then again, maybe some people, some people with a sick inappropriate sense of humor would do something that over the top...

[Morguefile]
Somebody really really cool like Bob McCully, Pittsburgh's long-time wagster, satirical writer, producer, and top of the crop ad man. The Christmas cards he created every year always featured his unique brand of dark humor, but his family and friends never expected anything like the one they got from the 88-year-old in 2011. Because, you see, he was already dead. He died that August, and most dead men don't send greetings from the grave. But he wasn't like most men; he wanted to get one more laugh.

Thanks to a co-conspirator relative, four hundred people received one last memorable Christmas card from McCully that pictured him on the front, sitting in an office, talking on a telephone, along with the words, Hello, please don't call. I recently moved to a quiet neighborhood. And on the inside, it shows the gates to the Allegheny cemetery, his tombstone, and the words, My new place doesn't have a phone, and our gates close after dark. 

What a guy.

[Night of the Living Dead- wikipedia]
Okay, so maybe that doesn't tickle your funny bone. Personally, I'd love to pull off something like that, but I can understand how the idea of reaching out from the grave might not be everybody's idea of fun. On the other hand, a lot of people who might not appreciate this kinda humor are fascinated by zombies. Whew. Not me. All that brain-eating is too hard for me to swallow. Maybe if they sipped tea and ate cucumber sandwiches or something, I'd feel a little better about them. And I think they should pick up after themselves, too. All those body parts left lying around is totally unacceptable. I'll bet their mamas taught them better than that.


[wikipedia]
So, if not the walking dead, how about the sitting, standing, motorcycling, or kayaking dead?

Yep, that seems to be the new trend. Instead of being laid out in a coffin, some people are opting to be... posed, so they can make their grand exit doing something they love. A lady in New Orleans was staged sitting at a table with a can of Busch beer in one hand and a menthol cigarette in the other. A Puerto Rican boxer stood in a boxing stance... wearing his boxing gloves, trunks, and hooded robe. There are lots more examples; there are even quite a few images to be found online, if you're curious. I chose not to post any of those pictures. (See? I have some class.)

Kinda made me wonder how I might like to be posed. Reading a book? Sitting at the computer? Singing a song and dancing the fandango? Nah. How about taking a nap? In a coffin...

[Morguefile]
Actually, I don't want a coffin, either. Like many others have chosen, I'm going with cremation. We've prepaid, and cheap frugal person that I am, since I'm a universal donor, I'm kinda hoping Smarticus might even get a rebate.

But ya know what would reeeeally be cool? There's a company in Alabama called Holy Smoke, and you know what they do? Mix cremains with gunpowder and then use it to pack shotgun shells or rifle cartridges. Then, Smarticus could take me to the shooting range with him one last time. Talk about going out with a bang...

[Morguefile]

Okay, I'll stop now. I hope I haven't offended anyone. Like everyone else, I've lost many dear friends and family members over the years, and of course, I grieve for them. It's hard to let go of the people we love, and we miss them terribly. Being without them leaves an empty spot in our lives that nothing or no one else can fill.  But I don't think death should be a taboo subject or free from humor. Nor is it something I fear.

Nothing to fear. Rabindranath Tagore put it so very beautifully: Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. 

I plan on burning the lamp as long as possible, but always remember: there's joy in the morning. 

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said, I've told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. To me, death is a graduation. 

Sounds good to me. As long as we don't have to wear one of those stupid tasseled mortarboards.


                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.



64 comments:

  1. Morbid but then its always good to be prepared.

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    1. Sorry. I didn't mean it to be morbid. I prefer to think of it as a lighter look at a subject most people choose not to discuss. :)

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  2. I smiled rather a lot reading this post. But then my humour has often been considered suspect too.
    When I die I hope for a green funeral. No coffin, no embalming, no headstone. A shroud and being buried to feed a tree. And slowly my city is moving towards allowing me to get my wish.
    On the gratitude front? I read a blog today where someone said she asked a friend how he was. His answer? Grateful. She plans to adopt it, and I do too.

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    1. I'm glad we share a similar sense of humor. :)

      "Going" green sounds like a good option. Part of the reason we've decided on cremation (in spite of the fact that we bought burial plots years ago... and are now trying to unload them...) is I don't want anyone to put flowers on my grave or weep over my headstone. Far better to receive flowers now while I can still smell them and kind words while I can still hear them.

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  3. I enjoyed your post, thanks for the smile on a dull and wet Friday.
    We all have a lot to be thankful for, that's for sure. Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      You have a terrific weekend, too. I hope the "dull and wet" part doesn't last too long.

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  4. Love the header art, Susan. Turkey with a good message that I adhered to today. As for post, I'm reminded of a favorite Woody Allen line:"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying." Hope you and yours had a great holiday.

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    1. Thanks. Seeing's as how you're the doodle king, I'll take that as a lovely compliment.

      I like that Woody Allen line, too. Yes sir, we have a terrific Thanksgiving. I hope you did, too.

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  5. An interesting post as usual - although a bit macabre. Happy Thanksgiving, Susan.

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    1. I didn't mean it to be macabre, but I'm glad you found it interesting, anyway. :)

      Thank you. We had a terrific Thanksgiving.

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  6. I want to be buried in my blue jeans and a T shirt...comfort all the way...oh and my runners. Who knows how far I may have to walk on the other side. Better throw my cane in on top of me as well. We have our stone (a stacking plot) engraved all but for the fnal date. I have a photo of us reflected in the shiny surface. Macab? Maybe! Thoroughly enjoyed this post.

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    1. I chose comfortable clothes for my mother, too. But no runners. I picked slippers.

      No, not macabre at all. I'd say you're prepared. We are, too.

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  7. I love it (not death, but the post!) Especially because I'm also known for my sick (I mean, inappropriate) sense of humor.

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    1. Thanks. We folks with sick (I mean, inappropriate) humor have to stick together. :)

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  8. Inappropriate humor is a great thing to be thankful for! :P

    And I would totally love a postcard from a cemetery. LOL.

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    1. If inappropriate humor is something to be thankful for, I've given my family and friends a LOT to be thankful for!

      HA! Me, too.

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  9. Very true, seems kinda dumb when you really think about, much like Valentine's day, let's be nice for one whole day, pfffffffft. And also, I can set my sister off with this one, why must we stick to some day that some old fart declared a holiday? Can just as easily get together for a meal some other day. But oh no, because it was declared by some old fart, that is the day it must be done, pfffffffft, humans and stuck in their ways.

    I like the rifle idea. As for when I croak, use me as kitty litter, they'd call the recycling, right?

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    1. Yep, seems dumb to me, too.

      I don't mind being recycled, but I'll pass on being kitty litter...

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  10. Yes I agree we should celebrate Thanksgiving everyday! Death is nor morbid or feared by me. I love the words - : Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving !

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    1. I'm not surprised you like that quote. It's exactly the beautiful hope and faith-filled kind of thing you'd say if Tagore hadn't beat you to it.

      Thank you. We had a lovely Thanksgiving, and I hope you did, too.

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  11. We should definitely be more grateful more often, though I do like having my family around for half the day. And I, too, wish to be cremated. The body is just a shell after all. The real us inside.

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    1. I love spending the holidays with any of our kids and grandkids, but I'd love spending any day of the year with them.

      Yep, just a shell. In my case, it'll be the shell of a nut passed away...

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  12. I like the idea of the shotgun shells, have to look into that.

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  13. I don't want a funeral. Instead, I'd like fireworks shot off in a celebration of my life. My husband refuses but he HAS offered to stick a sparkler in my butt & light it. (Not quite what I had in mind.) Loved this post & your sense of humor!!

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    1. I like the sparkler in the butt idea. :) Since I'm going to be cremated, maybe my hubby can hide some dynamite in my butt, so I can REALLY go out with a bang.

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  14. Hi Susan - I love your sense of humour ... and this repeat is great ... fun to see your mind work. The thoughts one can conjure up of after life ... but perhaps I'd better not go there. For now I'll live on ... happy Thanksgiving weekend ... cremated Turkey or not - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. My mind has a... mind of its own. :)

      Cheers back atcha. Have a super weekend.

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  15. Greetings Susan. I enjoyed reading your post, very witty and humorous. We should be thankful more often, and appreciate the good things in life - such as having good health! I want to be buried at sea when I pass, and not cremated! Blessings to you.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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    1. Greetings, Andrew. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I like the idea of being buried at sea, too. That'd be the perfect place to toss my cremains, because I've always felt such a strong connection to the water.

      Blessings back atcha.

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  16. I don't really feel that funerals, of any kind, are for the benefit of the deceased but instead, for the mourners. I also don't think one's wishes should be sacrosanct; let those left behind decide how we should be burnt, buried or put in storage!
    I tried to write a novel about an overcrowded cemetery....but it had no plot.
    I'll get my coat.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s arcadian Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. True, funerals are for the living, but I disagree about leaving the burial details to them. It's difficult to think straight when we're grieving, so I was extremely grateful my parents left explicit instructions as to what they wanted.

      HA! No plot... good one. :)

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  17. Great post today !
    I like the idea of sending one last card after I am dead. I make my own every year. In fact I am finishing (very late) it today and off to the printers tomorrow !
    You are so delightful and funny in a most unusual way. I rather like it !

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

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    1. Thank you!

      I like the idea of sending out one last card post-death, too. I'll bet your kids would help you make it happen. :)

      Thank you again. If you find my humor funny and delightful, that must mean we have similarly inappropriate senses of humor. Cool!

      Cheers back atcha.

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  18. When I was a kid, every time we drove past a cemetery, my dad said, People are just dying to get in there. EVERY TIME. I've instructed my kids to cremate me. Do it quickly. No embalming necessary. Then toss out the ashes--wherever. Doesn't matter. I won't care. I do like the idea of sending out one last card, though. I'll have to think about that.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. HA! I have a feeling I would have loved your dad.

      Years ago, our younger son suggested that I be stuffed after I die, so I could be set up on the sofa as our resident couch potato. A book or newspaper would be the perfect prop, and the family could decorate me according to the season... (Yeah, he has a wacky sense of humor, too.) I told my hubby he could throw my ashes in the garden to fertilize the tomatoes.

      Have a super weekend, kiddo.

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    2. I love the thought of being stuffed, but I suppose it takes money.

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    3. Nah! It wouldn't have to cost much money. Those bags of fiberfill are pretty reasonable... Plus, it'd keep us nice and "cuddly." HA!

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  19. Humor is essential to help get us through life, so it might as well soften the rigidity of death (absolutely no pun intended). The subject of this post didn't offend me in the least.

    I prefer cremation (as did my parents). No funeral, no gawkers, no fake tears, minimal expense...

    Hey, your drawing of the turkey is adorable!

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    1. HA! You may not have intended to write a pun, but I still appreciated it. But the main point is, YES, I think humor is essential. Far better to laugh than to cry.

      Thanks. I'm glad you like my silly drawing of Jake. I drew it to go with a silly Thanksgiving poem.

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  20. I am grateful to you for these mostly wacky Friday posts. I trust you had a fun filled family feast yesterday, and now it's leftover time. Hence, reposts are fine too. All good in TX. Take care and gobble gobble (brains)

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    1. I reckon that's why we're pals. You like wacky. :)

      Since we had Thanksgiving dinner at our daughter's house, we don't have a refrigerator full of leftovers. Soooo... I went to the grocery store today and bought a turkey. Soon, we WILL have leftovers. (Gotta have them leftover turkey sandwiches and turkey noodle soup...)

      Have a super weekend. (Gobble gobble)

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  21. I do like your header.
    I think each and every day we should take time to be thankful.

    Have a great weekend

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you like it. :)

      You have a super weekend, too.

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  22. Loved the Rabindranath Tagore quote!

    And loved your post.

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    1. Me, too. That's one of my favorite quotes.

      Thanks! :)

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  23. I visited Oakland Cemetery when we were in Atlanta - such a neat place. I had no idea people were so creative when it came to their death. Using ashes in ammo - how do people come up with these kinds of ideas? Personally, I'm happy for people to take whatever is useful left in my body and then cremate the rest.

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    1. Oakland is a fascinating place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there... :)

      I don't know how people come up with some of those unusual ideas, but I'd rather go with a whimper, rather than a bang. :)

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  24. I'll always raise a glass to inappropriate humor! Thanks for the chuckle!

    And, yes, expressing gratitude is remarkably hard, it's a skill we need to develop more of.

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    1. I'll drink to that! I'm glad you like "unusual" humor.

      Yeah, it's something we all need to work at. Too bad good old-fashioned "thank you" notes seem to have gone the way of the dodo.

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  25. Son Paul and wife Leanne are travelling Wilmington, NC right now ... on the US Thanksgiving someone left a chocolate cake for them and some cat food for Benny by their van ... smiles ... god bless America's big heart ... smiles ... Love, cat.

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    1. Really and honestly made $6.30/ hour after coming to this country in 1982 ... Love, cat.

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    2. I'm glad your son and DIL ran into some good ambassadors for America. Unfortunately, there are still quite a few "ugly Americans" around. (Just means the big-hearted ones have to try even harder to share the love. :) )

      That must have been challenging, but you toughed it out, and just like cream, you rose to the top.

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  26. I'm glad you had a nice Thanksgiving. I agree that daily gratitude would be a good thing. Thanks for the smiles. When it is my time to leave this earth, I want to be planted into the roots of a tree to help it grow.

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    1. Thanks. I hope you and your family had a super Thanksgiving, too.

      The idea of being planted in the roots of a tree sounds intriguing. Any particular kind of tree?

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  27. Holy Smoke ... love it! In fact, the 'twisted' part of my psyche loves this whole post. 'Must get it from my uncle-the-undertaker. Before he passed, Edric kept threatening to write a book, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Funeral."

    Like Connie just said (above), I want to be cremated and turned into the root ball of a tree.

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    1. Holy Smoke... I'm glad! I have a feeling I would've liked your uncle. Part of my sometimes "twisted" sense of humor may have stemmed from my job as a medical researcher, which sometimes called for me to visit the hospital's morgue and/or the local slaughterhouse.

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  28. We're none of us getting out of here alive, so everyday appreciation and enjoyment and a big sense of humour makes perfect sense. My children have instruction to plant me with a silver birch (Mr wants to be an oak, that'll give him another 500 years, he says.) Before that it was a cardboard coffin with plenty of glitter. Either way - a fabulous party is called for. My step-siblings recently lost their mother, and some of her ashes went onto beautiful fireworks, which I also think is awesome.
    Maybe it is nice to have a day to reflect on gratitude.
    I have your book now btw - and when I've read it I shall pop a review on Amazon, something nice to remember me by :-)

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    1. I like the idea of going out in a burst of beautiful fireworks, too. My hubby loves fireworks, so why not make him smile one last time?

      Great! Thank you. I hope you enjoy it.

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