It comes from everywhere. Keep your eyes open. A short pencil is better than a long memory. Like a lot of people my age , I read newspaper obituaries. I think I started during my drinking days. There were mornings I felt so bad I think I was checking to see if I was listed. There are lots of ways to write of one’s demise. Some write their own, surely ahead of time. Here are some examples of gallows humor.
• A man named Tom Traylor had paid in advance to be cremated . A cancer patient, Tom wanted to renegociate the price. When he signed the original contract Tom said that he had weighed about 180 lbs. Cancer treatment had affected his weight downward to about 140pounds. Tom reasoned he’d lost easily about 30% of himself. Shouldn’t he get a discount?
• Another interesting observation about obituaries came from a Professor Clotfelter of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The good professor was not only an observer of obituaries, he had strong feelings about all the hub bub of attacks on the integrity of the great University and the controversy surrounding athletics at Carolina.
Professor concluded, and I hope I accurately paraphrasing his logic, that the citizens held sports, and particularly college basketball in extremely high regard. None more than the Tar Heel faithful. BUT—-Carolina people weren’t the only ones. Quite often in the Old North State obituary loyalties were firmly and proudly proclaimed. Sometimes even in opening statements as such: “Joe Jones, an ardent Duke fan…” Or, “Mr. Smith, a lifelong supporter of Deacon Basketball yadda, yadda.” Here are two the professor cited for support:
• When this North Carolina State gridiron faithful could no longer attend games in person he was despondent. He really missed the live action. Still it was reported that he never missed an Wolfpack game on television. He watched every game in front of his home TV. Frequently in a three point stance.
• Clotfelter did admit fanaticism was not limited to North Carolina. He cited a man from Wisconsin who stated in his obituary:” I love the Badgers, the Green Bay Packers, and most of my grandchildren.”
And then the man from Ohio, who requested that his six pallbearers be members of the Cleveland Brown’s football team. Asked why? he reasoned “…I want to be LET DOWN one last time by the Browns.”
•One person concluded: “Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they would tell you how the person died.” I said “dark”.