The Funeral-Part One
Let’s start with a funeral. Now, this isn’t just any funeral. This funeral is actually more important to me than any other funeral I’ve been to. Not because I was emotional or anything. Please. But for the first time in my life, I was asked to be a pallbearer. Perfect! I love responsibility!
Here’s a little back story on the funeral. The funeral was for my great aunt, an older Eastern European woman that I had only seen maybe three times in the last five years. Every time I saw her, she always said “TOOOMMYYY” in her thick accent. For some reason, she thought my name was Tommy. In fact, she thought that every male under the age of 47 was “Tommy.” I think she even called my sister Tommy. Rumor has it that we had a cousin Tommy somewhere along the line, but my name is fucking Jason lady, get it right.
My great aunt was also the kind of person that would give you the same piece of advice every time you saw her. I’m sure you all have relatives and family friends that do the same. You know, feel the need to remind you about important everyday things like “don’t walk your dog in a tornado,” or “remember, never eat celery while playing hopscotch.” Well, my aunt’s advice beats out any other piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. Every time I saw her, she would remind me to “allvays chew yur nuts.” And every time I thought, WOW! I was just about to take this jar of peanuts and shove the entire thing down my throat! I was not planning on chewing at all, thank you for saving my life! In fact, as I got older and started to see her less and less frequently, there were a few times when I swallowed close to an entire jar of peanuts without chewing and had to be rushed to the emergency room.
Alright, back to the funeral. I was chosen to be a pallbearer, along with my brother Marvin and my cousin Jeffrey Jeffrey Robert Bobby. Yes, that is his real name. No, none of those are even a middle name. It’s completely ridiculous. The little prick won’t even let us shorten it to anything. Every time we see him, we have to call him Jeffrey Jeffrey Robert Bobby. For space and finger saving purposes, Jeffrey Jeffrey Robert Bobby will now be referred to as JJRB.
I honestly don’t know why I was asked to be a pallbearer. My grandma, who was Aunt Iliana’s sister, called me and asked me if I could do it. My personal interpretation of this responsibility was that it served as the beginning of the changing of the guard. This was the first step toward becoming the king of the family. Since this was the case, I gladly accepted. I asked my grandma if I should be expecting my crown in the mail or if I’d get it at the conclusion of the ceremony. She had no idea what I was talking about. I appointed myself the CEO of Pallbearers, Inc. and hung up without saying goodbye.
The day of the funeral took forever to arrive. By the time it finally did, I was kind of pissed off because I had scheduled prior engagements and would now have to pass up getting drunk in the woods for a day of dead bodies and dirt. The thought of sneaking a flask into the funeral crossed my mind seventeen times, but in the end, I decided the risk of a PWI charge (Pallbearering While Intoxicated) outweighed the rewards.
Since I’m a hard ass, I sped to the funeral home, cut off the rest of my family and screeched my tires as I pulled in. I almost hit some weird little man that worked at the funeral home as he scampered in front of my car. That was his fault though, he should have known I was coming. I got out of my car, threw my pointer fingers in the air and let out a big “WHOOOO!” since I had won the race that no one else knew they were in. As I walked toward the funeral home, I was greeted by family members with all the pleasantries that I’m used to like “you really put on some weight,” and “you should really shave your face so you can look like a real human being.” There’s nothing quite like family to cheer you up when times are tough.
As I walked into the room with the casket, I let out one of the top three loudest laughs of my life. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Tied to the casket was a balloon! Apparently, it was Aunt Iliana’s birthday. Now this wasn’t your average, every day balloon. This was one of those super shiny, obnoxious ones you’d get for your daughter Jessica’s third birthday that screams HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! in your face. The best part about it was that the balloon was half-deflated and barely staying afloat. That seemed strangely fitting to me. I heard a few people whisper, “this is exactly how she would have wanted it. She LOVED birthdays.”
We were asked to sit down and the ceremony started. It turns out that Aunt Iliana was a member of an Eastern Orthodox Church and no one there really knew what to expect or how to participate in the service. It started out with some singing, followed by some singing, which was then followed by singing, one spoken word, forty-five more minutes of singing and then eighteen more minutes of singing.
“AAAAAMEN, A-MANY MEN MEN, AMEN MEN MEN, IS THE MEN OF ALL MEN!” sang the priest over and over again in his obnoxious, monotone church voice.
“What? Are they going to sing the whole God damn Bible?” asked the older gentleman behind me in a voice loud enough to be heard even by the hard of hearing in attendance.
Good question, I thought to myself. Finally, it was my time to shine. We were ready to get this show on the road and head to the church for what I was sure would be at least three more hours of singing. JJRB, Marvin and I were all called up for a quick pallbearers meeting which I took control of and told the funeral home employees that I could take it from here. Using my previously appointed power as CEO of Pallbearers, Inc., I tried to fire one of the employees as an example just so I could show that I was going to run a tight ship. For some reason, he didn’t go anywhere.
We picked up the casket and headed toward the parking lot.
“Holy shit! This is sooo fucking EASY!” I said to myself as I one-handed bench pressed the casket over my head a few times.
We kept walking down the hall with the casket and I noticed that JJR-DB (yes I did that on purpose) appeared to be struggling with his end. This didn’t surprise me one bit. JJRB is a little bit smaller and younger than Marvin and I and is known to be a little bit of a whiner. Let’s just say JJRB ain’t neva gonna ball with the big boys.
Being the great CEO that I am, I had actually thought that the probability of JJRB struggling with the casket was pretty high. Being the inexperienced CEO that I am, I forgot to formulate some kind of plan in case it happened. The casket started to shake like a girl in a Juvenile video.
“Jason! Marvin!” whimpered JJRB.
No answer. I sure as hell didn’t want to deal with his whining at a time like this. I needed to step up and put this company on my back! Pallbearers, Inc. is NOT going bankrupt, I thought.
Marvin and I answered at the same time.
BOOM! Just as we answered and at the precise moment we walked out the door, we dropped the casket! There was screaming and crying coming from everyone that had gathered outside.
“What have you done?!?” someone yelled.