Here's the Scoop: May 2, 2012

Setting the record straight
In the past few years, it seems like I have attended a lot of funerals. Experience tells me that I fit squarely into the group that remarks, “I hate these things.” Most people qualify for this category, I’m guessing.

That’s OK, because funerals, by definition, aren’t happy occasions. But, oddly enough, there are some lighthearted moments at many of these services. I attended an out-of-town funeral recently and found the reminiscences quite comforting. I didn’t know the deceased very well, but got a nice snapshot of her life from the friends and family who spoke at the mass.

All of this, naturally, led me to consider potential comments that may be spoken when I head out of here. This may fall into the category of “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.”
I know some of you might find this hard to believe, but the fact is, I’ve made some enemies during my stay on earth. Really. The good news is, these folks probably won’t show up at my funeral. I hope.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to take any chances. I’m thinking about being nicer to people. Even if it kills me — that would be ironic.

My best effort
There are no guarantees that I can pull this off, but I’m going to give it a shot. If this “new leaf” scores me a few glowing comments at my funeral, it will probably have been worthwhile. I’m envisioning praise like:

“In his later years, he hardly ever gave anyone the finger.”

And: “I know it’s probably just his failing memory, but I think he practically forgot how to swear at people.”

You know, those sorts of warm and fuzzy remarks.

So, I’m going to do my best to work on these, what some people like to call “faults.” I think I can pull it off. Who knows, it might even make me feel good — except for the pain caused by biting my tongue.

Escape route
Still, I think I’ll need a backup plan. What if all my later-life good deeds go unnoticed? What if folks show up at my funeral and recall my weaknesses in glorious detail?

To guard against this possibility, I’m also working on a “And One More Thing” list. As the name implies, this list will contain a bunch of comments that I never had a chance to make — or fell short in the nerve department and didn’t dare speak.

Of course, these remarks would be assembled into a highly secretive document and entrusted to a few very trusted loved ones. The comments would only be read at the funeral in the event that “public sentiment was not going in my favor.” It’s kind of like a guarantee of having the last word.
But, if folks are nice (lying is perfectly acceptable) at the service, these comments will remain secret. I have had life insurance for a long time — now I’ve added death insurance.
— Brian Sweeney