Thursday, February 07, 2008

Knock on Wood: Do You Dare?

I listened, a few Sundays ago, to an NPR interview with the head of the Associated Press' obituary department, discussing the untimely death of Heath Ledger. Taken completely off-guard, media across the world were unprepared, and scrambling to summarize the events of his life.

They went on to discuss the fact that many obituaries of famous people are already written. Most are elderly. Dick Van Dyke, and Andy Griffith, for instance. They are both over 80 years old. When The Good Lord decides that it's their time, obituary editors 'round the world will have nothing more to do than fill in the time of death and print that suckah.

What intrigued me most, in the interview, were the obituaries of young celebrities that are obviously on a dangerous downward spiral. Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse were at the top of that list. To be young and so personally out of control that your obituary is already written, because it seems as likely that you'll die as it will that you will live...well, Hello, McFly! Personally, I imagine I'd make a gesture or three, if I were on the AP's "watched" list. Join that stress-reducing yoga class, or decrease my speed in the rain, or maybe bow out of that last martini.

In the meantime, I've decided to ease the workload of the AP Obituary Department, and WRITE MY OWN obit. They can just pull up my blog, cut and paste, and voila! Their work will be done. And accurate. Lord knows I don't want any factual errors following me to my grave!

I invite, you, if you dare, to join me, and writing your own obit. Leave it, or a link to it, in the comments.

I'll go first.

Knock, knock, knock
[Month, Day, 2075]

GNightGirl died yesterday, in her sleep, at the age of 112, after celebrating her first solo skydive with three dirty martini's. She was best known for fixing spaghetti for thousands of soldiers that just dropped in to see her after the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was a painter, a photographer, and an author, beginning her career as an artist after the age of 50. Her only regret in life was yelling a little too loudly at her then-5-year-old son when he cut little diamond-shaped holes into her new bath towels.

She died penniless, spending every last cent on shipping 40 million-billion beanie babies around the world. She did, however, leave behind a $200,000 life insurance policy, meant to fund a street party in downtown Champaign, in lieu of a funeral.

The party will be on Saturday night, featuring Candy Foster and Shades of Blue (yes! they're still alive!). Beer tents, will be located at either end of the blocked off street. Cost of attendance: 1 flower. Rose, carnation, daisy, or dandelion—set one in a windowsill, or on the sidewalk, then dance.

Your turn. Double Dog Dare Ya.

P.S. Click here: "Tombstone Generator" to get yours.

(I really hope I don't wake up dead.)

Dared to Play:




  1. This reminds me of the end of the series finale of Six Feet Under. One of the most beautiful and sad five minutes on TV ever.

  2. I can't bear to write my own obit, even in jest. Not that I'm squeemish about addressing my own death... I know it's inevitable and I'm hoping to donate whatever usable parts I've got left to science or someone who needs them, then have the rest of it cremated. But Death dogs my footsteps too closely these days, what with the unexpected eath of my boss's 19-year-old son last September, the too-similar-for-comfort death of Heath Ledger, the death of our accountant just two weeks ago, my 101-year-old great grandma's death this past Sunday, the threat of assassination to Obama should he be elected president... have his PR people written an obituary for him? Just can't do it. But I hope the end of my life is marked by celebration, like you foresee yours, rather than sadness.

  3. I loved loved this post....I put mine up on my blog...

  4. I love your obit. I've got to think about that...

  5. Gnightgirl was so young and beautiful and alive. No one could have foreseen this. Why, she was entered in the motorcycle race next week!

  6. Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers.

  7. Loved it!!! Too scared to do my own though.

  8. I had to do this for a writing class once. I'll see if I can dig it out and "update" it.

  9. This isn't actually an obit but I have always known how I wanted to die and what I wanted on my stone so...does that count, since I'm kinda crunched for time these days?

    I will die at 86 years old after having been shot by a jealous wife. My stone will read "It was all true."

  10. Wow. That's just funny. I love your obit. I am a little too superstitious to write my own obit. As controlling as I am, I am sure someone won't screw it up just not to spite me. They would know better. I sound mean. Yeah this is not a good idea!

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  12. Loved it. Did it. Loved every minute of it.


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