Jim Siergey: Death Wishes

November 29th, 2011

It’s been a rough Thanksgiving week.

My father died.  A month before his 95th birthday. A cousin died at age 67. The 85-year-old mother of an old friend died. Bim, Bam, Boom. Three days in a row.

Then, of course, there was Maggie Daley and all the family members of other people I did not know who passed away during Thanksgiving week.

The thinning of the herd never ceases.

In going through my father’s papers, I came across his funeral wishes — “Short and sweet”.

I’m sure that’s how most people would like their final farewells to be.

Not me.

Initially, I wanted to be taxidermed and placed in the living room to be used as a floor lamp. A lampshade on my head would be apt but I don’t consider myself bright enough to serve as a suitable lamp. Heh-heh.

Plus, it would mean being on my feet all the time. This is something I have avoided all my life so I’ve reconsidered that concept.

If I were an ottoman (or, as I grew up calling it, a hassock) I could be on all fours for eternity. But being a footstool is another thing I’ve tried to avoid in life so why do it in my afterlife?

Now that’s a couple of good-looking horses….


The obvious choice would be in a sitting position on the couch with my arm outstretched toward the TV. I would be a good place to store the remote control.

But I’d be a heck of a thing to dust so I’ve scrapped the entire taxidermy idea.

A short and sweet funeral service is the sensible way to go. Modest, humble and unassuming.

I like the idea of ornate, ostentatious and flamboyant.

Instead of flowers on either side of my casket, why not fire-eaters? It’d be much more dramatic as well as entertaining.

Dancing girls! A kick line, of course. Perhaps some belly dancers and ballerinas.

Jugglers. Gotta have jugglers. The Lipizzaner Stallions would be cool too but that’s a little too extravagant. Even for me.

Someone playing the spoons with slide whistle accompaniment would present a nice un-mournful-like musical mood.

Warren Zevon always knew what to say….


Instead of a photo montage streaming on a big screen TV, some classic cartoons would be nice. Betty Boop in I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal, You” immediately springs to mind as being rather appropriate. Plus Louis Armstrong is in it! Some classic Bugs Bunny cartoons and a Tom Terrific or two would be…well…terrific.

Whoopie cushions on all the seats and hand buzzers in the palms of the family members should complete the proper tableaux for my send-off.

Since my wishes are to be cremated, that’s where the fire-eaters would come into play. At the proper moment, they could spew flames onto my body and quickly close the casket, which would, of course, be specially designed for cremation purposes.

This specially designed casket/crematorium would have a little cork on the bottom. When uncorked, my ashes would drain out into a waiting Chock-Full-of-Nuts coffee can.

My ashes would then be spread on the lawn of that crabby lady down the block who is always yelling at kids to stay off of it. Take that, you old bag!

Ah, yes, that would be quite a festive farewell, not to mention ridiculous.

In the end, I’m certain it will end up being short and sweet. At least, short.

I do like the idea of Whoopie Cushions though.

I also look forward to when I’ll stop dealing with and thinking about death for a while. That will come. As will death.

In the meantime, a good idea would be to follow the parting words of the late Warren Zevon and “enjoy every sandwich.”

Bon Appetit!

Editor’s Note: Jim‘s last post for The Third City was Tears of a Clown….

Leave a Reply:

Comments subject to approval--if we don't like it, we won't post it.

    • Archives