(Originally Published in Reno-Tahoe Tonight Magazine)
My friend David is 76 years old. When we had lunch last week he asked me for a favor. He asked if I would do his eulogy.
“Like, right now?” I asked.
“No….” he said “Lemme finish my soup”
He’s a comedian. But he was serious about the eulogy. I said of course I’d do it, but could we not talk about it sitting in this Black Bear Diner. He made me look him in the eye and swear on Rick Springfield (long story) I’d do it. He seemed satisfied that I would and we finished our lunch.
I have no desire to get up and try to speak about the impact one of my dead friends has had on me and the world at a funeral. I prefer to sit in the back, sob quietly, and scroll through my Facebook like a normal person, but how do you say no when someone asks you to basically headline their funeral?
You don’t. You say “Sure I’ll do it!” and then hope you die first.
It got me thinking about who I’d want to do my eulogy. After coming up with a reason to eliminate everyone (My wife is too honest, my daughter hates attention, my sister would try to be funny and fail miserably, etc.) it hit me:
I’ll do my own.
I can record it on my phone and then update it accordingly with ease! I get the basic one done and then I can edit as I go. As long as I don’t become incapacitated for a long period before I croak, my eulogy will be pretty up to date.
And that way, I get to control the narrative! I can put the proper spin on some things that someone else might not.
That story about when I was 36 years old and lost my rent money gambling and had to borrow $700 from my parents might make me look bad if it doesn’t get spun correctly. Something like “When Dave was in his mid-thirties he realized it had been years since he’d given his parents the gift of feeling needed, so he fed hundreds of dollars into the local economy and let his parents pay his rent.”
Someone else might also leave out some accomplishments from my life of which I’m very proud. For example, I was Applebee’s Employee of the Month in November 2004. If you knew what a terrible waiter I was and how much ass I had to kiss to get that, you’d understand why I’m so proud of it.
Really, this should be the norm. No one wants to do your eulogy and who better to summarize your life than the person who fucked it up?
And I’m lazy so I’ll keep it short, which is what everyone wants. I do it myself and no one has to listen to my friend Jeff talk about the music we loved in the 90’s for an hour and a half. No one but hardcore fans of Third Eye Blind would enjoy that. Probably not even the guys in Third Eye Blind.
I will be playing the Spin Doctors at the service though.