8.09.2010

Death And Such

On a flight from Indy to Atlanta. Did an Akira talk at GenCon, among other things.

One of the things I did was attend a memorial service for a very popular and prolific Fark user, The NaSkAr (Nasser). That was surreal, but also VERY real. I never met the guy. I didn't know him outside of a few posts on Fark. And yet, I sat there and watched more than 200 people fill the banquet hall of a public center and pay tribute to him.  I won't get too deep into what went on, because honestly, if you don't know a person, the details of their memorial service tend to be pretty boring (and if they aren't, you're pretty disturbed and need help). But he was definitely loved.

It made me think a LOT about a lot of things. Not really my own mortality - I'm pretty set on understanding and facing that. It's more along the lines of what I want or wouldn't want in peoples' lives when I pass.

I really hate the idea of a funeral or a memorial, because I really don't want people sad because of me. But I think that it's incredibly selfish to demand there be no service, and I think it's even more selfish to go dictating terms to people about how they should grieve. And it's horribly egotistical to begin planning something to facilitate the grieving process, because hey - what makes me so sure I'd even be missed?

But I do know I don't want sadness. I hate causing sadness in others. It's actually the exact opposite of what I want to do for people in their lives. The thought of creating something in someone's life they'll never remember well (my death) just bothers me. But it's inevitable, so I can't really plan to just not die.

I think there's two phases to what I'd want when I kick the bucket:

If I'm terminal and we know it's coming, I'd like a roast. I want people to show up and just have it out. Get their last laughs at my expense, and I get to have mine. And at the end of the day, we hug and laugh and really love each other as much as we can before I go.

No crying. Only laughing. And I absolutely refuse to let you feel bad about ripping on me. It's what I want. To not rip on me at this thing is to deny me my final wish, and that's really shitty, and you're probably a racist Teabagger asshole hipster fucktard wannabe geek who likes fucking shit music like Nickelback and read shit like Twilight and watch The Big Bang Theory like a turd and thought movies like Crash and Avatar were good, so fuck you.

There. That should be plenty of starter material for anyone left on the fence.

If not... If it's a sudden thing, and it just happens, ABSOLUTELY NO HYMNS. No churchy shit. I'm not going to the pearly gates or eternal reward or whatever. I don't know what's next after this life, but I know it's not that nonsense.

So that said, it's all rock and roll and jazz. No sad songs. No "Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley. That goes double for "Hallelujah." Just no. I know he's my Elvis and whatnot, being my favorite artist of all time. So I know it's profound and relevant to play him at my memorial. So play "Grace." That's the song I want people to attach to my passing. It's a song about how facing your own mortality isn't scary or sad when you know someone loves you. It's about the profound nature of someone else's presence in your life and being able to let go of your own life because they made it so wonderful while you were here. And after that, nothing else but Slayer and Coltrane. If anyone makes a mashup, double bonus stuff for you in my will.

I don't want sad things said about me. I don't want anyone thinking about how the days won't be as bright or the world is lesser because I'm not in it or whatever. I want people to celebrate the fact that I got to be here. I got to share my insanity with you all and you got to experience it, and thank God I left before it got too nutty. I don't want anyone to cry, but I know that's probably not realistic... So if someone is going to cry, they have to tell their favorite joke I told them through the tears.

I don't really want flower sprays. I want hand-drawn pictures. I don't care what of. I prefer non-sequiturs -- sharks on motorcycles, or popcicles made from Star Trek ships. I don't care. The smell of funeral flowers just makes people sad. It's an awful, purfumy smell. The concept originated to mask the smell of decomposition. I'd rather people smell nice things. Someone bring fresh baked cookies.

I do not want to be buried. I want to be cremated. I want to have my ashes spread immediately. I do not want a lasting token or shrine or memorial spot. That's not the mark I want to leave on this Earth. In fact, I officially request my ashes be retained in the modest receptacle of a Maxwell House can, and then shaken into the wind where they can blow back on someone. Preferably Mike.

I hope I die in a way that teaches other people something valualble, like how not to splice electrical wires or how not to build a campfire or how not to bowl. Ideally, I'd die in a way that would make people laugh. Not in a "my God, how stupid was that guy" way but more like "Holy shit, that's both awesome and hilarious." But I suppose the only way to really make that one come true is to off myself.

More than anything, I want people to just realize that my passing isn't a bad thing. It's just what happened. And now that's over, and we're on to the next thing. I want people to never forget the great things that happened between us, but I don't want them to remember them and suddely realize they'll never happen again... Do that right now if you're going to do it, because it's true. We'll never relive any of the experiences we had together. Ever. It's just not possible. We change by the second, and so any attempt to do so would end up differently anyway.

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind the past few days.