A Word of Goodbye! By Trevor Plumbly
When you get past three score and ten, you start to consider the shuffling off process a bit more seriously; it tends to focus your mind a bit when the funerals you go to are for friends rather than elderly relatives. Conversations with old friends (both senses) often include the previously unthinkable, that some of us will conk out in a relatively short period and all of us eventually. What’s interesting is the difference in attitudes: some refuse to even consider the prospect of death as if not discussing it will delay the process, while others man up (sorry ladies) and stoically dismiss the inevitable by muttering clichés such as ‘I’ve had a good innings’, which, by minimising it, amounts to the same thing as ignoring it. Screeds have been written on understanding and accepting death, but sadly, for most of us, actually coping with death doesn’t really become an issue until we’re faced with it; unfortunately by then of course it’s a bit bloody late to theorise.
There are those who earnestly feel that there are ways to beat the selection process; these vary from the mildly logical, to the stark-bollockingly-loony. ‘A sensible diet’ is advised if you want to hang around a bit longer (what’s sensible about going without, pray tell?). Mongolians, for example, live for yonks freezing their bits off in yurts, dining on nothing but fish and rice; do they live longer or does it just seem longer? Either way I bet they’d say ‘Bugger reaching the ton’ if there was a KFC round the corner. In less cruel climes dieting is optional, but popular with those whose bones begin to creak a bit, as if the bloke with the scythe is going to give them a pass because they’ve been stuffing their pudding chutes with sunflower seeds. Get real folks! It’s a lottery (see https://verbalberbal.com/2012/06/23/its-not-the-only-way-to-go-by-trevor-plumbly/). The other option is exercise; lots of oldies exercise in one way or another, and good on them I say! I don’t know if my evening pilgrimage for a pint counts as exercise, but to each his own, which brings me neatly to another gem from the ‘ripe old age’ brigade.
Gin and Chronic?
‘You need to cut down on your drinking.’ This advice is usually delivered by a young medical person barely past the drinking age and young and healthy enough to find lots of other pastimes now beyond me, like pursuing the opposite sex. Why would I want to cut back? I’m going to croak anyway at some point so why leave perfectly good undrunk booze for some other bugger to slurp and if the young physician is right in condemning the evil brew, I’m doing a few people a favour by maintaining my current intake. Then, of course, there’s God. Some folk have had him all their lives whilst others have had a sort of on-off relationship, restricted to weddings and funerals. There are those of course, who decide at the last minute that he’s really up there and that they’re really going to cop it if they don’t do some serious kneeling. To my mind they’re kidding themselves: if the ‘Big One’ was serious enough to put Limbo there, he meant us to go through the place not use it as a by-pass.
Normal Services will be Resumed after They’ve Fried Me
Royals and notables never have to think about their funerals, when they conk it’s all done for them. All sorts of religious ‘Pooh-Bah’s’ and obscure dignitaries turn up on the day along with trumpeters and choirs just to make sure we all know they’ve kicked it. Pop stars are guaranteed mass rending of emotional garments by hordes of wailing teenage girls to send them off, but most folks have basic decisions to make, the main ones being: Public or Private? Burn or Bury? But there’s no real problem here for me: most of my mates have croaked or lost touch, so it won’t be standing room only. No minister or celebrant please, just a lot of conversation with background light chamber music and perhaps ‘Panis Angelicus’ to remind them it’s a funeral not a bloody party; they can do that later when what’s left of me isn’t there. Finally the oven for me, I’ll go a heck of a lot easier knowing that I’ve had one last smoke.