Friday, October 19, 2007

Never speak ill of the dead. Unless they're the silly dead.

I'd like to introduce you to some of my nearest and drearest friends. They're not the life of the party. In fact, they're not the life of the anything. But they're excellent listeners, and they put all your troubles in perspective. Cheapest therapy in town. And you never have to call ahead -- they're always there.

The jokes were dumb enough when they were still alive, but now they're the laughing stock of the entire cemetery. Yeah, yeah. So funny. Never heard that one before. You guys all stink.

I know exactly what the Umpleby family must have looked like. Very jolly. Rosy cheeks. Bowls full of jelly and all that. Sometimes I hear them giggling under there.

Hattie Groo and her husband Virgil Groo. They come across a bit stiff at first, but once they've warmed to you, it's all Latin puns and pâté. Yes, it's impolite to ask if they used their own livers for the pâté.

The bastard son of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. That pot of mums did not die a natural death.

As you can see, Daniel died young, and his skating buddies come by most weekends and leave him empty beer cans and cigarette butts, arranged in neat, reverential rows. Looks like this week he just got some lousy bumper stickers. Sorry, Danny.

Habib here is the cemetery's token Iranian Jew. He gets treated a lot better in death than he did in life, because he clearly has the coolest headstone of all. English, Hebrew, and Farsi inscribed in an open stone book.

And Hirini Whaanga here -- he has the best job title: Maori Chief. (Former Maori Chief.)

I love my cemetery pals, but I might have to stop visiting this fella because he's trying to spook me. He's in a box with a lid, and the lid has a serious crack that's widening every year. A couple more hard winters and we might get a look at his bones...

Come on, buddy -- leave a little to the imagination.

There's a special place in hell for people who torture their children with hideous names. You say an angelic visitor told you to name her after Brigham Young? No, you just ate too much Polish sausage before bed.

When this stone was carved, no doubt many tears were shed. But those who cried have long since joined their babies for a neverending tea party in the clouds, so I hope they won't mind me noting that this stone is really funny. (And true.)

Fairy, Arthur, and Grail Gentry. So Arthur meets the fairy lady in the lake, who gives him Excalibur (!!!), with which he then gets the Grail. What a pretty story.


Hear that? That's the sound of a man turning in his grave.

Babs finally kicked off!*

The silence is golden.

* Make your own with the Tombstone Generator.


sophie said...

For years I wondered about you and the cemetary. But now I understand.

Left-Handed said...

I recognize the Whaanga photo... always liked that one.

RC Cola! said...

Hey, it's true, babies DO rock!

April said...

I love this post! Kristen and I took a pic of a tombstone that read Ronald McDonald one time.

I have your mix cd all set to send out, just need an address! :)

newdorktimes at gmail dot com

lenalou said...

The graveyard is a great place to meditate, but now I realise it has another kind of appeal. Ah, 'babies rock'.

ThomCarter said...

Did anyone else notice the phallic nature of Mr. Whaang's tombstone?



Is this thing on?

I need to repent!

Marie said...

Sophie -- What did you think I did there? One-woman seances?

Left -- Then Thom may proceed to psychoanalzye you.

RC -- Especially my niece. She does Ray Charles with her head and Elvis with her hips.

April -- I wish that damned clown would die. And I'm looking forward to the mix CD!

Lena -- I promise I don't just go there to make fun of dead people's names. I just love cemeteries. I"ve never seen a spirit, but cemeteries feel haunted to me, in a good way. I love that.

Thom -- The name is Whaanga, not Whaang, and of COURSE he has a phallic gravestone! He was a friggin' Maori Chief!

wynne said...

This is a great post, and very timely, too!

But what is UP with the Gentry family? I mean, did they plan that? Just a wee bit odd...(says a woman whose last name is frequently mistaken for the word "urine").

And speaking of "timely" and "great post," guess who went to the post office today and posted something? the suspense KILLIN' you yet?

Marie said...

Wynne -- Actually, the suspense already killed me. I'm dead. But I'm FULLY prepared to come back from the dead to see what's in that package. Heaven is great and all, but it can't hold a candle to a package from Wynne....


emily said...

smellie is actually one of my family names. it's scottish. it's pronounced "smaylee". but yes, it's silly. sillie.

Marie said...

Em -- I didn't know you had Scottish ancestry mixed in with your Swedes. I'm sorry to make light of your kinfolk.

My grandma's maiden name is Seamons (pronounced see-mens). I forget that it's funny to people until I say it aloud and they smile.

ThomCarter said...

Does your grandmother's family have phallic tombstones?

Now I really need to repent

Azúcar said...

Brighamine? That's so awesome.

D'Arcy said...

I am so glad I chose today to become a reader of Marie's blog! I am going to my cemetery (where I actually started designing many of the local headstones when I was fifteen) and see where Kaysville cemetery's token Iranian Jew is buried...

Marie said...

Ah, Kaysville. I believe that's where John Taylor died. (Do I know my dead people, or what??) Welcome, D'Arcy! How does one get a gig designing gravestones?? That sounds so cool.

By-the-by, my favorite gravestone ever is that of one of my great-great uncles, George Washington Thatcher. It sits in the Logan Cemetery and it's a huge, polished sphere. So fun to climb on! (Until the folks yell at you for disrespecting the dead.)

Azucar -- You only like it because you're related to BY!

Thom -- Sometimes a columnar gravestone is just a columnar gravestone.

SummerChild said...

People are always way too quiet in graveyards. The dead obviously had a sense of humor, and they WANT us to laugh at them. thanks to your post, I will, oh I will.

Marie said...

Summerchild -- I agree -- laugh with the dead. They're very happy where they've gone, and they can't figure out why we're so mopey...