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The Death Joke

ImageIn looking over recent posts I realize I’ve been a bit morbid. Just one of those life stages, I guess. So I want to move over to lighter material again, but let me talk one last time about death before moving on.

I’ll tell you a joke (it’s a groaner).

A piece of string walks into a bar and asks for a drink. The bartender tells him “Sorry, we don’t serve strings here”.

The string walks away dejectedly. But after thinking about it, he decides that’s just not right. So he disguises himself. He ties a knot towards one end. Then he unravels the rest into a punk hairstyle.

He walks back into the bar and again tries to order a drink. This time the bartender greets him cordially and serves up his drink with a smile. But about halfway through the drink, he notices the bartender eyeing him suspiciously.

The bartender asks, “Hey, wait. Aren’t you that piece of string I sent away just a little while ago?”

The string answers “No, I’m a frayed knot.”

So, bear with me. I loved this joke. It was me. And for some reason when I told it to my sister, I said that’s what she should say for my eulogy. She looked at me in that tolerant “you’re crazy but I still love you” way she often does.

But it stuck. I would often say not to forget the joke lest my eulogy be blank. I told it to other family members. Even told it at one of those rare Christmas dinners where our whole wide-flung family was able to come into town and be together. The eulogy became a joke onto itself.

It became so real that my sister experienced a certain level of angst. One day she tells me “I can’t tell a joke at your wake!”. I told her she didn’t have to, she just needed to remember it me telling it.

And with that I realized why the idea appealed to me so much. I had loved telling her the joke. It was one of those simple moments when everything is right with the world and you’re with a loved one and the entire world is filled with laughter that can only be understood by those involved. I don’t know what dark events may lead up to my final demise, but I know that when she thinks of me, I’d rather have her remember how much we enjoyed the telling of that joke.

And so I do think it would be a good eulogy. When I’m gone, remember me for the fun times when all was right with the world.

–Al-

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