Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dark Humor...or...How To Embarrass Your Daughter Anywhere

DARK HUMOR or, HOW TO EMBARRASS YOUR CHILD

Bad weeks seem to be in abundance around here. I have been fortunate. I have witnessed bad and wrong and sad things, but from a distance, from the periphery. I’ve done what a could, and can, to help, while silently giving thanks that the bullets of misfortune missed me, even as I feel badly that they hit someone else. This of course, does not prevent my penchant for inappropriate comments from rising to the fore.

The saddest of a series of events occurred two weeks ago when the son of a family in my wife’s prayer group was found dead at home. He was eleven years old. My thirteen year old daughter had seen him and talked with him just three hours previously. I cannot even begin to imagine what his family went through, what they continue to go through, but I hope to never experience it.

The wake was held a week later. We went to the funeral home, where I was reminded why I want no calling hours, no service, no memorial eulogies, no pictures projected onto a screen. Harvest my organs, burn me up, and scatter my ashes into the Mississippi in view of the CafĂ© du Monde. I hope it brought comfort to them; it just isn’t for me. As with such events, I was ready to go after paying my respects. My wife and daughter, however, wanted to stay, so I wandered around the facility while they visited with the family and acquaintances. It wasn’t long before they remembered why I am best left at home, preferably attached to an ankle restraint.

Those who know me are aware that I get into trouble when I am idle. My imagination runs wild. I start talking with attractive but unfamiliar women. And I get creative. So it is that I observed that there was a table laden with toys and a basket full of bags of skittles candy in the viewing room. It was fairly obvious that these were objects which had been important to the young man during his life, and that the family wanted to share his special interests with their friends. A half-hour or so later I observed my daughter talking with some other young people who were there. They were all eating candy. I motioned her over to me and asked, “Where did you get that candy?” She replied, “It was in the basket on the table in there.” I reared back in (pretend) shock and said, “No! You weren’t supposed to eat that!. The things on that table are going into the casket with him!” She turned green, put her hand to her mouth, and said, “Tell me you’re kidding!” I smiled and said, “Okay. I’m kidding!”

I am hoping that she will forgive me before she graduates from high school.

12 comments:

  1. Trust me, she'll be laughing at it some day. It's the laughter through tears that is the best.

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  2. What is it with candy and dead people? I was walking through a cemetery one time, just looking around and I was surprised at how much candy there was around some of the graves. I can understand flowers because they make it look nice. I can kind of understand the jewish custom of putting a rock on the grave. Maybe Christians should do that, since when the stone moves, He isn't there. But candy? It isn't like they can eat it now. Whichever place they went to, I don't think they're thinking about candy

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  3. Great story, Joe. For me, I intend to live as long as I can so I'll be dead as short a time as possible.

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  4. LOL.
    A few years back I took my teenage daughter to the movies and while we were at the concession stand we ordered M&M's. The counter girl said, "Plain or Peanut?"
    I said, "Peanut,and pointed to my daughter, "because she's allergic and I love to watch her swell up when she eats them."
    The counter girl, with a horrified look on her face, snatched the candy back and refused to sell them to me.
    It took me ten minutes to convince her I was kidding. My daughter's reaction? "You're such a jerk."
    But, we still laugh about it today.

    BTW, Joe,
    Thanks for the very nice review you did of THE RICH AND THE DEAD on Bookreporter.com. It made my day. Greatly appreciate it.

    David DeLee
    "Bling, Bling" -- THE RICH AND THE DEAD - Grand Central Publishing

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  5. Eleni, I hope that you're right! Thanks!

    Timothy, I think the candy thing is a memento that is relatively inexpensive and readily obtainable for folks who feel the need to drop something off at a grave.

    For me, people are welcome to drop Tim Horton's coffee and donuts off anytime. Particularly while I'm still alive.

    Joe, I'm with you. My motto is "Could be better, could be worse, could be ridin' in the hearse!"

    Great theater story, David. I do somewhat the same thing on Halloween! We have got to get together.
    For the unintiated, David DeLee is the author of a number of fine stories set in my home town of Columbus, OH. The fact that I am insanely jealous of his ability to describing its mean streets better than I ever could keeps me from saying how much I REALLY enjoy his work and confessing that I am spending my June Kindle budget on completing my DeLee library. But don't tell anyone.

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  6. My father (the minister) used to carry peppermints and butterscotch candies in his suit pocket and he would give them to the kids in his churches. Lots of kids knew him only as "Candy Man". I meet adults now who tell me they remember getting candies from him when they were young.

    He was in his late eighties when he died, and the last thing I did before they closed the casket was to put a handful of those candies into his coat pocket in case he ran into kids in Heaven.

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  7. I used to help my daughter with her cheerleading routines...with other people present. I thought I was charming. My daughter had another opinion.

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  8. John, once again I get an inkling as to how you became the good man and friend you are. Thanks for sharing.

    James, interestingly enough I did the same thing with my daughter. I helped to turn her schoo basketball team's season around. If they won, I promised that I wouldn't help during the next game.

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  9. It's a parent's job to embarrass their children, especially daughters!

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  10. J.A.D.I.P., if that is true, I shall never retire!

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  11. I don't know, Joe. I think you just reminded the living that life goes on . . .especially since nothing could be said or done to ease the pain of that family's loss. Sometimes laughter is the fastest balm to a broken heart. I send my prayers and best wishes to the bereaved.

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  12. Thank you, Kathleen,I'll pass that on. I cannot imagine how they are able to put one foot in front of the other right now.

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