Friday, March 25, 2011

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night!

You may remember that cheerful, cheesy song from the classic musical The Sound of Music, in which the 650 children of the von Trapp family marched happily off to bed after breaking out in song. Most children, of course, do not break out in song before going to bed ... if they break out in anything, it's tears and tantrums.

But that's neither here nor there, because the bedtime we're going to talk about today is not for children. We're talking about preparing to take the long dirt nap.

In all the words written in newspapers and magazines and spoken on television, radio, and the Internet about the death of Elizabeth Taylor (even I wrote about it yesterday, check it out), one very interesting article stood out that I am today inspired to share with you: Taylor Farewell Sheds Light on Obituary Reporting.

Yes, Dear Readers, you may have wondered - as I have from time to time - how it is that when the rich and/or famous go to that Big Cocktail Party in the Sky, very detailed reports on their lives spring up faster than snarling Republicans at an Obama-slamming seminar. How is it that all this information - in the case of Elizabeth Taylor, accompanied by endless video clips of all her movies - is ready to go the moment the subject shuffles off the mortal coil?

Because it's all written already, that's why.

As the CNN article linked above makes clear, not only are the obituaries of the famous written well in advance of their deaths and updated as needed, the authors of those obituaries often die before their subjects ... giving new meaning to the term "ghostwriting."

I suppose it's really no different or more macabre than arranging for your cemetery plot before you actually need it (except at Arlington National Cemetery, where reservations are no longer honored). But it's still a bit weird to think that someone might be out there writing one's obituary before one actually needs it ...

I don't know what will be written about me once I'm gone, but the upside is that I won't be around to worry about it.

Do your worst!

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow, with the return (on the correct day of the week, no less) of Cartoon Saturday.



Raquel's World said...

It's funny I have often thought about writing my own eulogy. If it's my last shot to be heard I wanna say all the things I never did. Sigh. What a sad thought.

Bandit said...


Mike said...

I knew this. Hadn't thought about it in awhile though.

KathyA said...

I've been thinking of writing mine -- wouldn't want anyone to tax him/herself and I'm not famous so don't have one already prepared.

Maybe you can help?? :)