Visiting your own wake
Visiting your own wake
I have often wondered what it would be like to attend my own wake. After a lifetime in the political arena, I have amassed a rather large contingent of both admirers and detractors. Both would be voluble at my demise.
The comments they would make would be fascinating to hear. I remember when former Buffalo Mayor James D. Griffin, a very controversial figure, passed on. The public comments, from some of the people who did everything imaginable to make his life miserable, were enough to make the man roll over in his grave. I wonder if people can really be that disingenuous or they just forget what a son of a bitch they were sometimes? The “who me?” syndrome is something we all suffer from.
The Lord knows I remember any number of members of the political opposition who did everything in their power, legal and illegal, to knock me down over the years. Some of the sanctimonious sons of bitches used subpoena power, summons for jury duty, phony leaks to a gullible press and a dozen other ploys to try and knock me out of the box. I survived though and came back to stick it to them, with interest.
The worst offenders, to me, were the clowns that you moved heaven and hell for to get them elected. For some odd reason these rascals resented the hell out of anyone who had helped make them what they are. They prefer, I guess, to think that they did it all by themselves. It’s an extension of the “this is all mine” philosophy of life that some rascals hold. No one accomplishes anything in life by himself or herself.
Depending upon the level of success that you achieve in life, you can almost script the comments at your wake.
“He was a fine man, a great asset to his community,” said the son of a bitch who fired you for not sucking up to him enough.
“I went to school with him. He was a wonderful person,” says the man or woman who never gave you the time of day when you knew them.
And then of course, there are the heart warmers. There are many people who genuinely cared for you and appreciated any and all of the things you had done for them in life. Their mist-covered eyes gaze upon your likeness and offer a silent prayer for your repose. These are the friends and family that make life worth living. These wonderful and caring friends are the ones who needed your help and appreciated what you did for them. God Bless them every one. I hope I earned their trust and affection. I know I tried like hell to be worthy of their friendship.
The level of discourse would be civil at these affairs, but it could be all-inclusive. On top of the many kind things generous people say, there would be the odd remembrance from the less than generous.
“Do you remember the time that he got shit faced and fell off the barstool?” one would inquire. A chorus of appreciative laughter would follow, from many who had done the same thing on several occasions. We all tend to see our worst faults in others, but don’t see them in our selves. And you wonder what people really think of you in their private thoughts? Even the famed fly on the wall may never know.
The breakfast, after the funeral, is always well attended. Even Ebenezer Scrooge could draw a crowd if a free breakfast or lunch is involved.
A reality show is a good practice for such occasions. A lot of people posture for the effect they think others will have when they observe them at such affairs. No one wants to be thought of as a curmudgeon. What the hell they really think, who knows?
I carry such thoughts with me now, because when my times come, I won’t know or care what any of the hypocritical rascals say or do. I will be far beyond their comments and waiting on some far away plain of existence to watch what is said about them when their time comes. Irony in life is always a delicious experience. Scrooge wasn’t the only one who got to watch what is about to happen or what might yet be. We all get that chance by the way we live our lives daily.
And for those kind souls who wished me well, I am glad that I knew you and got to experience the pleasure of your company. And what of the others? A great older friend, now passed on, once told me “your real friends will always believe the best about you, no matter what libel they hear. As for the others,” he said with a smile, “who the hell cares what they think?”
(to be continued after I am gone, though I sure as hell plan to be around for some time, yet)
Joseph Xavier Martin