Some Final Thoughts


September 05, 1993|By DAVE BARRY

Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis. You never know when your time will come. One minute you could be as healthy as a horse, and the next minute you could be killed by exploding bat dung.

This is what nearly happened to rangers at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan, where, according to news articles sent in by many alert readers, a building was leveled by a monster blast -- audible 14 miles away -- that resulted when a sump pump

spark ignited methane gas that had been generated by large quantities of bat dung. Fortunately nobody was in the building at the time except bats, whose names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

But even if you do not set foot in Tahquamenon Falls State Park -- and that is certainly my recommendation -- death can come at any time. In the words of the Old Testament prophet Abner, speaking in the Book of Longitudes, Chapter Nine, Verse Four, Sector Seven: "For whom amongst ye can know the exact day, nor hour, nor minute, nor gaaaaccck (thud)."

Yes, the Big Moment could come at any time, which is why you should be thinking now about making arrangements for your post-death lifestyle. You want to spare your loved ones the pain and agony of having to make funeral arrangements for you later, at a time when, for example, they might have tickets to the playoffs. You also want to avoid the unnecessary expense that can occur when the next of kin are forced to make decisions under emotional stress, a good example being what happened to the widow of the late Egyptian King Cheops:

Undertaker: And what kind of a tomb situation were you thinking about, Mrs. Cheops?

Widow: Oh, I guess a basic tomb.

Undertaker (arching his eyebrows): A "basic" tomb?

Widow: Is there a problem with that?

Undertaker: No, I suppose not, although with your basic tomb, you can get your bats in there, and of course bat dung can . . .

Widow: Bats?

Undertaker: Oh, you can get all kinds of rodents, with the basic tomb, and even if we really wrap the late Mr. Cheops up pretty good, you can have a situation where . . .

Widow: (thud)

When Mrs. Cheops regained consciousness she naturally chose the top-of-the-line tomb, the "Pyramid" model, which involved roughly 2 million stones, and which was so expensive that it is still being paid for.

Now before I get a lot of irate mail from the funeral industry, let me stress that your modern bereavement counselor is not just out to make money. He is a highly trained professional who is interested only in servicing the family of the deceased at a very reasonable cost.

So make those arrangements now. And be sure to leave explicit written instructions with your next of kin stating what kind of funeral service you want, especially what kind of music. I say this in light of an alarming article from the Star, sent in by Katherine Runyan, listing the most popular recorded songs played at funerals. These include "My Way," sung by Frank Sinatra, and "Ben," sung by Michael Jackson. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't the song "Ben" from the movie "Ben," which is about a rat? Do you want Michael Jackson singing a love song to a rat at your funeral?

Of course not. You want something more suitable, such as -- this would by my selection -- "Mony Mony," by Tommy James and the Shondells.

Another thing you definitely should do prior to dying is make sure you have a proper will. According to the nation's largest lawyer organization, the American Association of Aforementioned Legal Professionals, the best way to get a will is to copy down the following paragraph and sign it:

"I, (Your Name), being of sound mind and reasonable body, do heretofore set forth the following (hereinafter "the mortgagee"), and do thereby attest and affirm thereto etc. blah blah blah there is no need to read this too carefully it's all just standard legal "boilerplate" blah blah blah and therefore I bequeath and bestow and begive all my money and everything to Dave Barry blah blah blah so I'll just sign this right now here I go I'm signing it (Sign Here).

There! That pesky chore has been taken care of! Now you can forget about this morbid topic and get on with your life, have fun, maybe take a nice trip somewhere. Speaking purely as your friend, I recommend some place with bats.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.