What I Learned From Death
1. The local police department may have to conduct traffic outside of the hospital, the lobby may be filled with people there for you, the family waiting rooms on 9 of the 11 floors may be packed to capacity, and you may be surrounded by your family – but when you walk through death’s door, you walk through very much alone.
“Look at me when I’m preaching to you. If you wanna sleep, go home. Listen, I know some of you don’t want to hear it, but we live in a country where men have chosen to send their daughters to the front lines of combat. As far as I’m concerned, these lily-livered boys have lost their right to be called men. That might not be in the bible, but its still good preaching. [Laughter] Somebody better say ‘amen’ or I’m going to park it here for the rest of the sermon and you won’t get home in time to watch the game.”
2. When your lungs collapse and your heart explodes, your wife and daughters will clear the room in a split second and get sick in the hallway. The son who stays, holds your hand, and runs his fingers through your hair while you swell up and turn fourteen different shades of death will probably never be the same. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, so I hope to die alone.
“I wouldn’t give you a plugged nickel for a man who lets his wife run him. I’d be ashamed to show my face if I had to ask a woman’s permission every time I turned around.”
3. Even if 1,783 people sign the memorial guest book, your wife will only be able to identify a small handful of people outside of the family who truly loved you. Cultivate and protect real friendships, and don’t waste your time on acquaintances unless they can do something for you.
“Teach your little boys to chase little girls, and teach your little girls to say no to little boys. It’s good for both of them. Men hunt, and women protect; they need to learn how to do so under the watchful eye of their parents.”
4. Everything that comes, comes to pass. Good and bad are both in constant transition, and complaining about one is about as pointless as boasting about the other.
“No offense to our Catholic friends – many of whom are in these pews today, but I’m not sure what to think about a man who dresses like a mother and calls himself a father.”
5. Your legacy will be an interpretation of who people perceived you to be in relation to themselves.
“My bible says men should look like men, and women should look like women. What does your bible say? Judging by that boy’s hair cut some of you women have, we must be reading out of two completely different books. Don’t come to my office crying when your husband leaves you for a woman who actually looks like a woman. Oh, he’d be in the wrong, and he’d be a sinner, but I’d probably be a little too understanding of his predicament to suit your needs.”
6. The organ donation people will show up a few moments before they unplug you and try to pressure your loved ones into overriding your admittedly uninformed but clearly stated wishes. It’s a brutal and unconscionable situation for your family to endure.
“Men, if you’ll lead, she’ll follow. If she doesn’t, send her back to her daddy’s house and tell him you won’t take her back until she’s in her right mind. If she never comes back… [laughter]… well, count your blessings and tell God it’s my fault. I’ll take the blame when I get to heaven.”
7. Leaving your wishes clearly spelled out, along with exactly how you want your funeral to be conducted is a wonderful gift to your family. Step by step instructions along with phone numbers and documents that have obviously been updated every year on your birthday for over a decade is a little disconcerting to read, but very much appreciated by those you leave behind.
“Some of you women – I can see it on your faces right now – don’t like what I have to say. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m not like your husband, and honey, I’m not afraid of you.”
8. Organized religion is a branch of the human psyche hewn by either the faithful or the elite and offered as a crutch to the feeble minded. Organized religion is comprised of those who love god, those who use god, and those who need a god.
“Good men build this country with the support of good women. Good women sustain this country with the support of good men. Good children are the future of this country with the support of good parents. We all need each other, and every man, woman and child is a critical part of God’s natural order.”
9. Nothing and everything matters; it just depends on who’s doing the talking after you’re dead. You really can’t be all things to all people, so don’t work too hard to garner favor.
“Hell will freeze as solid as a popsicle before a woman stands behind this pulpit. Does that ruffle your feathers? Does that not sit well with you? Does that trample on your idea of fairness that some godless professor fed you in college? Good. There’s the door, sister. And while you’re at it, take your sissy husband with you.”
10. At your funeral, a few will truly mourn your passing, but most will just want to see the show and get their drama fix for a good facebook status. If you really do it right and live a life of conviction without ever compromising on your principles, a handful will show up just to make sure you’re really dead.
“You don’t like my preaching? Well bless God, I don’t like your living so I guess that makes us about even.”
Bear with me for just a sec…
If we with ink the ocean filled,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
I used to beg him to stop singing that in the car. Be careful what you wish for.
To the only man the funeral director ever had to hire a live obituary comment moderator for: Lulz for that, like father like son in a way I guess, and rest in peace.
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