Today it’s time to celebrate Plan Your Epitaph Day which is “dedicated to the proposition that a forgettable gravestone is a fate worse than death.” As a bonus, it’s also National Deviled Eggs Day, and I wasn’t sure if everyone would have these yolky wonders prepared, so I doodlewashed one for you, to accompany your end of life planning.
Lance Hardie is the creator of Epitaph Day and lives by the motto, “Make it worth dying for.” He also writes them for you if you’re stumped as well as for your furry family members. By this I mean pets, not your cousin with the hipster beard. As for who invented National Deviled Eggs Day, nobody really seems to know, so I’m just going to go out on a limb and assume it was Food Network.
Everyone approaches death in different ways. For example, my best friend from art school made me promise that if she died first, I would stand at the back of her funeral service and look reverent. Just when everything in the room stops and hits that deathly quiet lull, I was supposed to loudly scream “See you, sucker!” and run out. Let’s just say, I’m hoping I die first.
As for me, although I love deviled eggs, I don’t love gravestones and think they’re too showy and take up space. Most of my family prefers cremation, and I’ll likely follow suit, as the box is much more compact regardless of your size while alive. When I arrived in Texas after my father had passed away a number of years ago, my mother simply proclaimed, “Your father’s over there on the bar.”
I walked back to the family room and there was an octagonal brown wooden box with inlaid green marble sitting on the interior Tiki bar my dad had built. It seemed odd that a 350 pound man would fit in there, but according to the photo on top it was indeed him inside. The photo my mom chose was of a younger version of my dad who was about the same age as I was at the time. But there was no epitaph to be found and so I thought I should write one.
I have many memories of my father but they feel like a collection of feelings rather than tangible events. He was there while I was growing up, but more at arms length and was often in his own world. I loved the man, but it’s hard to clearly remember someone you never fully understood.
I felt bad that nothing was springing to mind. I looked at the box again, quietly sitting there at the edge the bar underneath a string of glowing plastic jalapeño chile peppers, and suddenly I remembered. My dad had already written his epitaph. He was always telling me, “Son, when I die, throw a party and have a beer on me.” So I set down a glass, poured a beer and toasted him.
As for my epitaph, I don’t even know if I’d want to be in a box, so I’m not sure where anyone would put it. But assuming I did end up in a tiny box somewhere, with a picture of me ironically smiling on top, I guess I’d just want do what I always do. And say what everyone must be thinking. So in a lovely bit of shiny gold lettering just below the photo, when the light hits it just right, you might be able to make out these words: “Well, this is awkward.”