Guest blog by Pat Erickson – Of Grave Concern

This was written in response to the class that Pat is taking from me called The Memoirist’s Essay.  This week in particular I asked my students to contemplate on a subject and then write.  This piece is what Pat came up with…enjoy!

Of Grave Concern

 The dread of being dead is taking over my life.  I don’t know if my angst makes me live with gusto or makes me avoid risks.  It differs on any given day.  I can’t decide if I should I eat the whole pie, or diet myself svelte for the afterlife.  I’m not sure if I should forgive my enemies or tell them to suck eggs.  This dying business is a conundrum; it will be the death of me.   Apparently, I suffer from thanatophobia, a pesky fear of death, and I don’t think I can be cured.

 Woody Allen said “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens”.   I’m with Woody on this one, but how do I escape the inevitable?   How do I handle that which I fear most?  Laughing about death seems a good way to go, figuratively speaking.  A little levity never killed anybody. 

Some religious people know with certainty what will happen after death, but worry they may be wrong.  I hope they’re right, but I fret they’re wrong. The prospect of being nothing, doing nothing, and thinking nothing is troublesome.  But there may be an upside to this netherworld; I may never have to diet again.

If I have to rest in peace, I prefer to do it in comfort.  I will select a nice, understated coffin with a tempurpedic mattress and a curved pillow so that my head, neck and spine are perfectly aligned.

I want to be buried bra-less, too.  Give the girls rest. 

I want to be buried barefoot.  After my romp through the white light, I want to walk on a beach and feel the sand between my toes.  I want to run in slow motion to the loving arms of St. George Clooney. 

Speaking of barefoot, I want a celebrity makeup artist to doll me up like Ava Gardner in The Barefoot Contessa.  I want to smolder.  I want my nostrils to flare.  I want to dance feverishly on cool soil.  I want another go-around with Frank Sinatra.

As far as Frank is concerned, his gravestone reports that “The Best is Yet to Come”.  If that’s true, there’s plenty of Jack Daniels on hand and a rekindled passion with Ava. 

Self-deprecating wit is the hallmark of other celebrities’ grave markers.  Jackie Gleason’s tombstone says “And Away We Go”.  Did he assume his famous stance and slide sideways into eternity?

Jack Lemmon’s gravestone reads “Jack Lemmon In”.  At least it doesn’t say “Some Like it Hot”.

Rodney Dangerfield’s grave marker says “There Goes the Neighborhood”.  He probably doesn’t get any respect there either.

Mel Blanc was the voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.  His gravestone is inscribed “That’s All Folks”.

I have to give these people credit.  They had a sense of humor when it came to their own mortality.   As for my gravestone, I want it to resemble a giant I Pod with a single app.  When touched, it blares out the Rolling Stones’ bluesy song, “Start Me Up”. 

Please do.

5 Comments to “Guest blog by Pat Erickson – Of Grave Concern”

  1. Love this piece! Too funny.

  2. Just as good the second time!

  3. Priceless, just like the author.

  4. I am so sorry to have missed class, and not being there to hear you read it. It will certainly be a keeper for me. Luvya, Melitas

  5. Pat…you are funny, introspective and best of all…inspirational. I am enjoying my class time with you.

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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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