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Kirby: You're the star at your own funeral
You're the Star At Your Own Funeral Blast
   Saturday, August 25, 2001

      By Robert Kirby
      Salt Lake Tribune

          This has been the year for funerals. In just the past month I have gone
      to three: two acquaintances and one family member of a friend.
          Most of the funerals were the standard fare: music, prayer, eulogy, more
      music, some more prayer, and then food. In and out in less than two hours.
          One funeral, however, was far more elaborate. The music never
      seemed to stop, the prayers droned forever, and the eulogies (4) went on
      until even polite-looking people started leaving. It lasted so long that it
      wasn't clear what was happening when finally some people came and got
      the body. Was the service over, or was the casket being repossessed?
          Incidentally, this was the service that had been pre-planned by the
      deceased. It included a dog and a rock and roll song played so loud that
      people in paradise probably called the cops.
          This is not going to happen at my funeral. When I'm dead, I want to
      know that things are under control. I lost my life, not my self-respect.
          Granted, it might not matter to me. Whatever else happens after we
      croak, you can be sure that it won't have much to do with the floral pattern
      in the casket lining.
          If God is pleased to see me, I will be too happy to care what kind of
      funeral I'm having. If God is annoyed, I may have more painful things on
      my mind. Like fire.
          Conversely, if nothing awaits us on the other side, then I will be . . . well,
      nothing, I guess. Not only will there be no reward, but it also won't matter
      that I cut Sunday school.
          So, what happens at my funeral will probably be more important to the
      living, some of whom might be too grief/joy stricken to be objective about
      cost and time. It should therefore be stuff that helps them cope.
          What kind of funeral do I want for myself? Will we need a long eulogy?
      Music? Food? How many mourners should we rent?
          Some people put their loved ones to a lot of bother. They plan elaborate
      funerals for themselves, drawing out the agony for those stuck here
      without them.
          Still, it might help to express some interest in how things go at your
      funeral. If nothing else, it will give the grieving something to go on at a time
      when they might not be thinking clearly. If you haven't planned your
      funeral, maybe it's time. For the basic Christian model funeral, you will
      need the following:
          MUSIC: Religious numbers are the normal fare but be careful. You are
      the star attraction. You don't want stuff so long and boring that it makes
      everyone else wish they were dead, too. Rock and roll works, especially
      Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." However, "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee
      Gees might be in poor taste.
          EULOGY: Somebody normally talks about the deceased at a funeral.
      You may want this person to be someone who actually liked you. And
      please tell them to keep it short. Time still matters to the living, you know.
          CASKET: Be reasonable, OK? It's against the law to bury people in
      some things. You can't be buried in a beer keg, a Fritos bag, or a
      rhinestone purse. Even a simple pine box still has to meet certain specs.
          FOOD: For some reason, people eat after funerals. If you want a
      certain food served at yours, keep in mind that grief and acid indigestion do
      not compliment each other.
         Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Kirby lives in Springville. He
      welcomes mail at P.O. Box 684 Springville, UT, 84663, or e-mail at