Rock’n’roll shaped my opinion of life and death. As a teenager, I adopted the mantra of my generation, “I hope I die before I get old,” never imagining back then that Roger Daltrey would be belting that tune out in his 60’s. I used to awake every morning to Roger’s taut naked chest suspended above me on my bedroom wall never thinking that someday it would be covered by layers of shirts and vests in an effort to conceal his AARP man boobs. I mean, WHO would have thought back in 1975 that someday Pete Townsend’s bursitis would get in the way of his windmill? And now Ringo turned 70? Loathe though I am to admit it, my rolling stone is gathering moss where no moss should ever grow.
The truth is that unless I live into my 80’s, my life is already half over. I’m not opposed to living that long, but only if I’m crazy as a loon because I don’t think I can handle the betrayal of my body. I don’t want to be aware that my body can’t perform the simple tasks that my mind tells it too, like putting on pants or shaking a martini without dislocating my shoulder. Also, I don’t want to shock people just by the fact that I’m still alive. I recently had a conversation with a very vibrant 90 year old woman who told me that you don’t know what freedom is until you’re 90. “The very fact that I’m still alive shocks the hell out of people. I can drop my shorts and it wouldn’t be as shocking as the fact that I’m 90 and still have my wits!”
My wishes are simple, so let me go on record so there’s no confusion about my send off. Now, I love going to parties. I love celebrating the milestones of my friends—birthdays, marriages, divorces, but I’ve never been comfortable having the attention put upon me. That changes when I die. I want the biggest, brassiest party to make up for all the ones I said I never wanted. I want Jamie, the bartender from In Napoli, to just set up shop on the hood of my coffin. Remember: Open bar, closed casket. I can’t bear to hear, “God she looks awful,” without replying, “Of course I do. I’m DEAD! Jamie, a Makers Mark, toots-sweet!”
Let me be perfectly clear, if anyone buries me wearing pantyhose I will haunt them for the rest of their natural life, and then hunt them down in the hereafter. That goes for underwear too. I don’t want to spend eternity with a wedgie. Since we’re on the subject, sans bra as well. It’s always Saturday morning in my heaven.
I know that this will shock those of you who know my insane shoe addiction, but bury me shoe-less. Socks are just fine. However, place a few pairs of my beloved platforms inside the casket just in case there’s Dancing with the Stars and Jesus needs a partner.
Now this is very important. I want to be buried with my beloved dog, Burkey, a.k.a. Bad Dog. If she has pre-deceased me unearth her and put her in the casket with me. If she’s living, smother her. Trust me, if she’s left with my husband to care for her she’ll put her head in the oven anyway.
Even though I’ve moved from the parish, I’d like to have my funeral mass celebrated at Holy Trinity Church in Fort Lee. I began my sacraments there, it would be smoother administratively to end them there. I don’t want St. Peter saying, “Well, we received St. John’s paperwork, but we’re waiting for Holy Trinity’s. Have a seat with the Atheists.” Also, while everyone is mourning me, I can run across the street to the 7-11 and get some scratch-off’s, a coffee, and a buttered roll.
I’m formally requesting that the Fort Lee Police escort my funeral procession. Not only because I know Chief Ripoli, but I fear that if I’m escorted by the Leonia Police my coffin will be littered with tickets and I don’t want my entrance into eternity delayed by having to go to purgatory to pay all those surcharges.
Lastly, if I should die before I get old, somebody take out the recycling. My husband never remembers.