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Ashes to Ashes


We’re alive for a while, and dead a lot longer.

One of my high school classmates died last week. Gloria Imrisek Sidell was exactly 364 days younger than me–a fellow Capricorn–and had battled Lou Gehrig’s disease for longer than anyone ought to. Glo was a whole lot braver than I could have been. If you have any spare cash at the end of this lean year, think about sending some to the nearest ALS Chapter. I am.

Several weeks ago, I was a pall bearer for Marlys Anderson, our department secretary many years ago. I dutifully put on my dark blue suit and felt some paper in the inside pocket: it was the program from Joanne Meisner’s memorial service. And folded inside that was the program for Carl Wichman’s mother. Do you think this has become my “funeral suit”? There’s some fine print on your birth certificate guaranteeing that every person who dies is way older than you; I know it’s there but just can’t find it. When my friend Dennis Colliton died at age 50, I started looking for it and a toll-free number to complain. Shit like this just shouldn’t happen as often as it does. I’d better get used to it.

When I’m dead, for goodness sake have a party. Make it the kind of party I’d be pissed off to have missed. Tell stories; make jokes; argue. Remember what an asshole I’ve been and recall some of the good I left behind. Get drunk and send me the bill. 

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