In the unlikely event that the plane crashes before it lands, I have composed this document to serve as my last (and first) will and testament. But don’t look at it so much as a strict set of rules concerning my estate and assets. I’m no materialist; divide up my stuff however you see fit. Instead, treat the following as guidelines and directions to be followed for the planning and execution of my funeral proper. I believe that by identifying myself as testator of my estate, signing on the dotted line at the end of the document and notarizing it with the presence of two disinterested witness selected at random from the line at the airport Dunkin’ Donuts, I will have fulfilled the basic legal obligations required of an individual drafting his or her own will. My “B+” in Contract Law convinces me this thing will hold up in court. I think.

First, let it be noted that this was not written with even the slightest degree of frivolity or insincerity. I have recently lost a former friend from school and attended his funeral. Seeing his grieving family and peers really put me face to face with my own mortality. His too. That being said, I decided it was time to be prepared and get my house in order. By “house,” I am of course referring to my sublease, but you get the idea. I will now proceed to break down my instructions concerning the actions to be taken after I have drawn my final breath*.

I. General Aesthetic

I have a vision. The vision includes a ceremony hall, true to typical Baroque style, with ornate stained glass windows illuminating the interior. If I have enough money to afford it, I would also be fine with a large, golden pyramid erected specifically for the purpose of observing my death and interning my remains. It’d be real easy to spot, and I’ve seen one too many funeral processions go awry due to poor directions. You end up with a dozen cars parked at the Buca di Beppo trying to figure out where the service is going to take place. They’ll ask, “Is it in the Pope Room, where they reserve space for corporate functions?” Let’s avoid such a mishap all together. A shiny, gold pyramid built in the Aztec style adorned with neon lights which depict my likeness will suffice. The entranceway should be lined with red carpet, and a wax model of yours truly should be standing near the door wearing a tuxedo, top hat and leaning on a cane holding a sign saying, “Come on in, the funeral’s fine!” If my monetary value at death does not permit such extravagances, let’s at least get a place without vinyl siding.

I can see big, beautiful portraits of me in a variety of poses littering the walls. Some are playful and flippant—perhaps I’m pulling a prank on an unsuspecting school mate. Others should be dramatic and serious—me in a fancy chair, me in front of the fire, or me in front of a fire in which burns a fancy chair. The collection should round out with some action shots (competing in the Olympic triple jump), candid moments (delivering a woman’s child while stuck in an elevator with no medical training) and a few with my trademark wry hint of a smile and come hither stare. You know, whatever makes me look good. I might be dead, but I’ll be damned if women won’t want to fuck me.

Heaven willing, I will be displayed in an open casket, and if so I’d prefer one lone shaft of light shining directly on my calm and stoic face. In the event of some grotesque cosmetic flaw, I’d like to have my body cremated. My ashes should be spread, at dawn, across the interior of my casket, with the light shining in the general direction of where my head would be inside the casket. I think people will get what I’m going for there.

Also, how about some plants? That would add a real optimistic tone to the entire affair. You know, cause plants are growing and all. People love that shit. They should be densely populated around the entrance, enough so that they brush up against guests as they enter. I want some decorative flowers hung up too. Don’t skimp, get me some real Georgia O’Keeffe flowers. It’s my funeral here! But let’s have some fun, too. Hang some mistletoe above the guest book for shits and giggles. (It’s very important to me that people realize my commitment to green living and the environment. Unless of course these issues have gone out of favor with the general public, and in that case, why waste the money?)

II. Cuisine

While I am personally put off by food at funeral services (unless I’m feeling
particularly starved from grief), I realize its importance and admit it must be present for those attendees who eat when they’re sad. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about! Never a picky eater, I have no stringent orders except one—all the dishes in the buffet line should be provided with those little folded cards that tell you what you’re eating. Be sure to use creative names for the different options. Instead of spaghetti and meatballs, how about “intestines and eyeballs”? Or instead of meatloaf, how about “human meat loaf”? After the food has been served and ingested, the chef should announce that my body was the most difficult to prepare and cook, but conversely the most delicious to consume in the long run. If this is too subtle, I suggest having him scream, “You’re eating it! You’re eating his body!” After general mayhem and disgust ensues, have someone else clear up the entire situation by assuring the guests they have not, in fact, cannibalized the very object of their sorrow. Then, declare dessert will be served and hand out snack-sized portions of gummy worms in red Jell-O and call it “blood and guts.” I think everyone will get a real chuckle out of that. Bon appetit!

III. Music

A mix of sacred and secular should suffice. The old standard hymns are necessary: “Amazing Grace,” “Because He Lives” and “I’ll Fly Away” should be sung by one and all. But let’s not stop there. A solemn rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” with vocals and instruments recorded by yours truly, of course, should be played at the end of the ordeal, right before the casket is lowered into the ground. (I can’t play any instruments currently, but you can do just about anything with a MacBook these days.) When the casket finally descends into the grave, throw on Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is).” I don’t think anyone really ever realized how important their music was to my life. I just want people walking away from this whole thing saying, “Well, you know, whoomp. There it was.”

IV. Guests

Let’s start with the dress code. Shorts are an instant ticket out. I don’t want people too formal, just some simple black attire will do. Write “funeral casual” on the cards and that won’t be too vague. Anything with my image or name on it that grabs the attention of others is a definite plus, especially if you want to end up on TV. I did mention this was going to be taped in front of a live, studio audience, right?

As far as the invitee list goes, I’m not too elitist. Just as long as all the local A-list celebrities are there sitting next to prominent heads of state, I’m fine. My one stipulation is that every woman who has played a significant role in my life deserves special seating at the service. And yes, ladies, even a handjob counts. Two pews will be reserved up front, or maybe three…who knows how far I’ll get before the end? They’ll all sit together, awkwardly shake hands, nod and introduce themselves; and somewhere, far above or far below this mortal plane, I’ll be smiling.

Now, is that really so much to ask?


*And please, make sure it is my final breath.