Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Obituaries

No, not mine. Don't let the whining fool you. It is, after all, just a cold.

But I have been thinking about the obituaries in the morning paper. Mary has once again pointed out to me that they almost never mention the cause of death. Some of them are quite extensive treatises on the deceased's clubs, hobbies, foibles, church allegiance, politics, lovable sins, and favourite songs. But no mention of how he died.

Now, I never noticed that at all until she mentioned it and now the more I think of it the odder it seems. This morning, for instance, there were 13 obituaries. One woman died of cancer. The other 12 folks seem just to have vanished. The whole point of the obituary is to make known that someone has died and yet how he died is left a complete mystery. I suppose if the man were 97 we can safely assume it wasn't a sky-diving accident or that he didn't fall off his Harley at a rally in Hollister. But what about this other man? He was only 41, i.e., a whole lot younger than I am. What happened to him?

I've decided that I definitely want a cause of death included when it's time for my notice to be published. In fact, I've pretty much decided which cause I'd like listed. I've informed herself that no matter how I actually enter the afterlife, the cause of death in the Press Telegram is to be given as "Shot trying to escape." I don't think she's taking that entirely seriously for some reason. So if you have occasion some time in the future to report the news of my demise, remember: it's "Shot trying to escape". It should add a wonderful little frisson of interest to an otherwise lugubrious page.

And, anyway, the way the country is going, the odds of it being accurate increase by the day.