Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Birthday You're Going to Die

Like a lot of people, when I get home from work I’ll do a quick check of any mail that’s come today. That’s what I did last night at 9:30 when I got home.

Sitting on the kitchen counter were 2 envelopes addressed to me. The top one I recognized. Well, I recognized my mother’s handwriting on it and I knew it was a birthday card for me. Cool. It gave me a little smile because my birthday’s this weekend.

(By the way, here’s something to listen to while you finish reading)

And I casually glanced at the second envelope before routinely throwing it in the trash. It was a business envelope—some kind of solicitation probably. Yep, the first thing that caught my eye was “1 Year No Interest!” printed diagonally across it. The one single word in the name of the return address caught my eye: “Mortuary”. Huh?

It was from Allen Brothers Mortuary, Inc., Family Owned & Operated since 1964.

What’ve we got going here? Some kind of alpha/omega thing? A birthday card from the person who brought me into this world and a solicitation from someone who wants to take me out of it? Damn. Happy freakin’ birthday! Gee which one should I open first?

Hey, all I wanted to do was change clothes, grab a quick cigarette on the balcony, plop down on the couch with my feet up on the coffee table for “Top Chef” and enjoy a bowl of pineapple sherbert on a warm evening. I didn’t want to have to contemplate how I will spend eternity and how I’m going to pay for it with “1 Year No Interest!”.

So I did what all reasonably well educated, procrastinating guys do. I didn’t open either one of them. Until this morning.

The card was a nice, sentimental birthday card from my Mom with an gift card for Barnes and Noble. Thanks, Mom. It’s absolutely perfect.

Inside the envelope from Allen Brothers Mortuary was this:

Now, without going into a great amount of detail, what I liked was the italics at the bottom of the flyer. It says:

“Delivery to a home where a recent death or illness exists is unintentional. Our apologies if this information arrives at a difficult moment.”

A difficult moment? IT’S MY FREAKIN’ BIRTHDAY!!! Oh, that’s not the difficult moment they mean. What are they trying to tell me? That I’m getting older? That I’m going to die? To quote the late George Carlin: “Thank you Captain Obvious.”

Life is full of these little surprises. Some are good. Some are bad. And I guess you have to take it in stride. I fully expect to live to enjoy my birthday and to not require the services of a mortuary until I’m at least as old as my Mom—who’s 79 and going strong.

Until then, here’s my response to the mortuary:

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