Thursday, July 8, 2010

When Life Comes to a Halt

After Sunday night, many people will be dying from boredom without the influx of sexy foreigners strolling down South African streets. Of course, there is also the Fifa World Cup coming to an end but an eight-tentacled sea creature has already confirmed the 2010 winners, so it is more probable that people would be dying of boredom during the finals rather than after them. Hopefully dying does not imply the actual state of permanently losing all life functions but, if it does, you can never be too prepared for your own death.

In one of my favourite books, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, Morrie tells Albom that everyone is aware that they are going to die but refuse to believe it. He adds that only once you know how to die, will you be able to live. I myself live by the theory that you should be able to ask yourself every day whether you would be happy if you died at that moment and be able to say, ‘Yes!’.

I assume his theory has spread as there are now a great deal of people planning their own funerals before they die; it seems to have become the new ‘in thing’ to accept death as an inevitable part of life that can occur at anytime (even while throwing your arms up into the air and screaming, “LAAAADUUUUUUUU…..”).

So, apart from the usual place, time, music and type of wood, here are some things to consider when planning your own funeral:
•How to tell your Facebook, twitter and other social networking friends that you have a valid reason for no longer appearing online.
•Whether you have enough ‘real’ friends to mourn your departure or whether you would need to hire some ‘cryers’.
•The things that were too afraid to do when you were alive, such as riding a motorbike or skydiving. You can always choose to do these things at your funeral: have a motorbike drive your coffin to the cemetery or even plan a parachute landing into the grave plot.
•What you would like to be said in the speeches during the gathering. You may even choose to hire a comic to draft a humourous account of your life and assign a random stranger to deliver it. It would be funny to watch all your family and friends listen quizzically as a total stranger tells them things that only you knew about yourself.
•No one really considers this but I imagine it plays an important role in the ceremony: whether or not you want a theme. Star Wars is a great theme idea, especially if you plan on going down under in a Darth Vader suit. I personally prefer Yoda, but that only works if you are extremely vertically challenged. Always let people know well in advance to work on their outfits so that they have no excuse to not dress up.
•Who to assign to carry out your last requests. A person with a conscious is always great. Your death will make them feel guilty and, even with their ten grand overdraft, would carrying out your dying wishes.

*published in the Witness Newspaper