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The first mistake of Art is to assume that it's serious.
-- Lester Bangs

Elegy For an Elegant Bastard

by Tjames Madison

2002-05-01 16:07:22

All this talk about death, wakes and Moloch recently has, frankly, got me a little worried. What if I'm next to go? I could slip on a wet banana peel and slam my head against an enormous brass statue at almost any time. I'm not planning well enough for this sort of thing. Who will talk for me when this terrible day comes?

And that's the thing that's got me most wound up. No one wants this sort of responsibility. No right-thinking person wants to break a friend's entire life down into Readers Digest-sized nuggets in front of a crowd of tearful black-clad mopers. I certainly wouldn't. I would be too powerfully tempted to just sit back and blast a recording of Richard Nixon's resignation speech at full, screeching volume, then flee the church as fast as possible. And if I did that sort of thing for a friend, then no one would ever want to say the good words for me, when my time comes, and some lethargic geek I barely knew would end up pouting over the "tragic waste" I'd made of things during my short, futile existence.

So fuck that. Herein follows the script for my own, personal demise. Ignore it at all peril, lest I come back as a goblin and haunt the lot of you, and you know who you are.

1. Funeral/Memorial Service Etiquette

a. Everyone must dress in pirate garb. No exceptions.
b. No one is allowed to quote Shakespeare.
c. Casket: closed!

2. Eulogy

a. Attendees will draw lots. "Winner" to read the following off a neatly typed manuscript:

"Tjames Madison was an extravagant bastard. I knew it from the first time I met him, when he was carving his initials into the paint job of that green Mitsubishi Eclipse, and drinking from a small golden flask. I asked him what was in the flask, and he just grinned in that horrible, crooked way he had, and answered slowly, 'Plasma.'

"We all have similar stories, I'm sure, but the one that stands out the most for me was the time he stole that beekeeper's suit and tried to set a bus shelter on fire. 'No one suspects a beekeeper,' he kept insisting, and hell, he was right. No one suspects beekeepers. Tjames proved that the hard way.

"Or there was the time he fought crocodiles with his bare hands, the 'only good way,' he said. He was horribly mauled, seeing as that he had no experience whatsoever in fighting crocs, and spent long months in the hospital recuperating, but in a way, he was right. Would you fight a crocodile with a harpoon, or with boxing gloves? No. Tjames touched on universal and unpleasant truths, and we all loved him for it, I guess.

"I still remember the time he came to me and pleaded for money. Hell, everyone probably has a story like that. But when I said no, he screamed 'I'll cut you,' and then when I laughed at him he punched me hard, right in the solar plexus... he seemed to know exactly which spot would cause the most pain. I always gave him plenty of money after that, and he never cut me.

"Oh sure, he also had his unpleasant side, like the time he tried to fly a helicopter full of angry monkeys into Candlestick Park for 'Simian Threshhold Testing,' as he called it, but at this sad time it seems to me a far better thing to simply forgive and forget, even though I am still sort of pissed off about that candy box full of red biting ants he sent me in the mail.

"In the end, I guess you just have to respect the sort of life he led, no matter how specious or Weird it really was. No one would choose to do the sorts of things he did every day. So he must have been crazy. Let's bury this damned crazy person and get on with our own stupid lives."

b. Sit down and nod heads solemnly.

3. Wake

a. OK, drink now.
b. Keep going.
c. And going.
d. Don't play any damn Cat Stevens music.

4. Aftermath

a. Burn corpse immediately.
b. Toss ashes in river, or ocean, or BBQ. Doesn't matter.

All right. Anyone who's interested in attending my funeral should probably print out a copy of this article for future reference. I'll see you in Hell.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

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