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 Café 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.