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I like throwing stones in glass houses.
-- Johnnie Royale

Johnnie Royale's Guide to Wakes

by JRoyale

2002-04-30 00:51:13

Wakes can present problems for Bad People of the Future. (If you don't know what a BPotF is, you need to read more of the PDJ.) Sure, your friend is gone and you miss him and that really sucks; it does, I know. But all Bad People of the Future are gonna die, and they have all accepted that fact. They do deserve, however, to have one final kickass party to celebrate all the bad things they've done in the past, present and future. And you, as a friend, have to make sure that their desire for a final send off is well executed (sorry for the pun). That's just the way of BPotFdom.

Since wakes have become quite a hot topic on several of the PDJ ancillary mailing lists, as a number of Pigdoggers seem to be passing away quite suddenly, I thought this would be a good time to mention some the things I've learned about wakes in hopes that in the coming days we'll send several of our friends off in the style that they not only desire but truly deserve.

A little note about gender. This entire guide is written assuming the dead guy is... well... a guy. I have no freaking idea how to have a wake for a chick, but I bet it involves a lot of frilly nonsense, pink stuffed animals and lot and lots of weeping and crying and other crap like that. If that's how a girl wants to go, ok by me, but don't expect me to enjoy it.

If you are involved in planning a wake I certainly don't want to put too much pressure on you, but you do need to do some planning. It isn't necessarily easy to pull one off, and unlike marriage, which a guy has an opportunity to redo as many times as it takes to get it right, death tends to be a bit more permanent. Your friend only gets to die once: you need to try and make sure he has the best damn wake ever.

So to help you with that and without further ado, here are Johnnie Royale's 10 rules for having a successful Bad Person of the Future wake.

Rule #1. The success of a wake depends entirely on the amount of alcohol consumed. This shouldn't come as a surprise to any BPotFer, as that is how the success of ANY party is measured. However, in the case of a wake, it is even more important then usual. Many of the people attending will quite naturally be sad at the loss of their friend; and nothing quite takes away pain like 6 or 7 large fruity rum drinks. Not only does alcohol decrease the suffering of the living, it helps get the party on track and the next thing you know you'll have girls dancing on the tables and ripping their clothes off. I know don't know of a better or more solemn way to acknowledge the death of a friend then to stage a live reenactment of Girls Gone Wild, volumes I, II and III.

Rule #2: Do not bring the corpse to the party. Sure you want your friend to be there for his wake; it is only natural that you would what him to share this very special moment...but dead people stink, quickly become bloated and are never going to be the life of the party. Furthermore, the deceased probably met his end in a rather violent and ugly fashion (most BPotF do), and nobody enjoys partying with someone that is missing half his head. It is just...well...gross. So don't do it. Resist the urge to raid the morgue and instead find a nice photo of the dead dude, have it enlarged and glue it to the top of a cut-out cardboard image of Spock. Then tape a huge drink in Spock's tricorder hand and you've done all you need to do to bring your friend's presence to the party.

Rule #3: Prepare a number of toasts before the party. Unless you are a great extemporary speaker, spend some time before the party making sure you have figured out a couple of nice things to say about the dead guy, and have at least one BPotF anecdote of his to relate to the crowd. Otherwise, you'll get up half-sloshed in front of the crowd and either freeze like a deer in headlights or, more likely, dredge up stories that prove he cheated on half the girls in the room - leading to massive girl on girl catfights during the second half of the wake. Which on second thought sounds like fun...ummm...err...ok...skip this rule.

Rule #4: Location is vital. Private homes are great places to have wakes, but rarely have the infrastructure needed to host a proper one. Bar hopping is good and can be enjoyable, especially if you visit the deceased's old haunts. It does require some planning, as you don't want to get caught needing booze after all the bars have closed. Hotel rooms make great bases of operations. You can load up the room(s) with booze, bar hop til you can't hop no more and then retreat to the room(s) for more booze, party and pay-per-view porn. Seeing sunrise is just about mandatory. And if the funeral is the next day you should all arrive late and very hungover.

Rule #5: Strippers and hookers should be avoided. This is a general rule as it is generally considered inappropriate to pay sex workers to perform at a wake. Instead, make sure that there are extra rooms available so that this sort of activity can be done privately without disturbing the other mourners. The big exception to this rule is if the deceased has specifically requested sex workers at his wake. This is not unheard of, and several have gone so far to help offset the cost...hint, hint.

Rule #6:Invite a senior pharmacologist to the party. People grieve in different ways and may need to have their chemical intake properly adjusted to achieve that happy-go-lucky mood you want for a successful wake. So ensure that not only is the party awash in both legal and illegal drugs, but that there is a skilled individual there to advise the mourners on how best to "handle" their problems. 

Rule #7: Flowers suck. Bad People of the Future don't do flowers. Spend your flower money on booze and encourage everyone else to do the same. Make sure to save at least one nice bottle: stick it in the coffin, as it might take the deceased awhile to get a seat near the bar at his next stopping point.

Rule #8: Don't invite family members. They simply won't see your merriment and drunkenness as a sign of respect. Nor will they believe that your friend and their son/husband/father wanted you to party till you puked. If they insist on coming, then split the party in two. Have an early wake with a couple of beers, maybe even some soda pop, and invite everyone to attend. Then after all the boring Miserable People of the Present have left, hold a secret post-wake wake to properly express your grief.

Rule #9: Don't drink and drive. You and your remaining friends are going to get shitfaced, and if you can still drive you haven't done enough grieving. Go back and grieve some more. However, don't force the group to have another wake next weekend...that's just rude, and hard on everyone's schedule, pocketbook and liver. It also makes you look like you are trying to crowd in on your friend's moment, which is uncool. Let the bastard have his 15 minutes. So spend a little money and take a cab or get a hotel room.

Rule #10: Have fun. Remember, this isn't your wake.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

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