Thursday, May 22, 2008

Whose Death Is It Anyway?

Well, thanks to a 1/4 of a Xanax, I made it to the funeral, and I'm glad I went. I was a little fucking creeped out for the first 20 minutes or so, but the meds kicked in soon after and the terror level dropped significantly.

But I have to tell ya, and my apologies to the faithful out there, but cheezin' rice, I REALLY don't get this whole religion thing. It was a Catholic service (but really, it could've been any denomination), and I swear to crap, they were making the shit up as they went along. (And seriously, no disrespect to any believers out there. Do not take my heathenous musings as anything but that.) The sprinkling of the holy water on the casket, the metal incense ball thing the dude was waving around (which smelled strangely like burnt pencil), the whole Eucharist thing with the eating of the body and the drinking of the wine/blood (?!), the weird-ass kneeling bar that I had to pull out from under the bench in front of me, the fanciful vestments of the pastor (tastefully traditional but with inlaid fabric from what seemed to be a Red Roof Inn bedspread), the hymns, the many gilded tomes that were brought forth, the lady who kept leaving her seat to go to the bathroom and each time she did it, she would bow to the giant Jesus hanging from the ceiling who, by the way, seemed to have been sculpted out of honey-butter.

Seriously. It really seems like some insane person just made a bunch of shit up, packaged it, and said, "There you go -- I give you religion. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go meet a giant badger on Mars -- we're having a picnic and then we're going to wash our hair with potatoes!"

Don't get me wrong -- the organist rocked the hizzy! I could sit around and listen to that dude play all day long. And I actually sang along with some of the hymns, adding in some 7ths and 9ths and going all Bohemian Rhapsody on their ass. When the dude really cranked the big, fat chords out, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. He had a total Deep Purple thing going on, for sure. That part was awesome.

I think the thing that bummed me out the most was that, of the nearly two hours I sat there, the pastor talked about Jesus or God or a buncha other bearded and robed dudes for about an hour and forty minutes. But I only heard about Bob, the guy WHOSE FUNERAL IT WAS, for like 20 minutes... if that! I wanted to hear about his life and who he was and all the things he did and why the church was packed to the fucking rafters with people who thought he was the nicest guy ever. But all I got was a 3 minute speech from a friend of his from the Masons or the Knights of Cydonia, or whatever, and a seriously heart-rending speech by Bob's son and his SIX other siblings.

I mean, face it, the paster TOTALLY BOGARTED THE SERVICE!

I guess I can see why they do it that way -- if, instead of fixating on this horrible, unexplainable individual death, you couch it in this grand master plan laid out by this all-knowing and all-loving supreme being, it's way easier to handle the randomness and awfulness of it all and you can actually get through your life without your head going all "Scanners" on you. But I'm telling ya, I think everyone would've gotten a hell of a lot more out of it if they had just sat in a big circle on the floor of someone's living room and told stories about the dude and passed around some photos and gotten fucking soused.

That's a religion I could get behind.

But, like I said, I'm glad that I went. I think Kim said it best when she said, "It's only fitting [I] remember him, since he always remembered [me]." And that was the subject of my dinnertime Mike Brady sermon to the spawnage when I told them that the best way to live on after you die is to live an interesting life, have as much fun as you can, and be really nice to people and make lots and lots of friends who will continue to talk and write and blog about you, long after you're gone.

Then Miss O plugged her ears and told me to stop talking about death or she's gonna have nightmares.


Greg Owens said...

GREAT post, CD. A classic. You say a lot of things I've thought and felt many times... but you say it funnier... and with more non sequiturs and ultra-hip pop culture references.

Russ said...

My wife is Catholic and drags me to Mass most weeks (thank God for the baby who I say is too young for church). Organized religion just takes itself too seriously. Now your idea of church sounds like a winner!

Jerry said...

As one who was born Catholic and am back in the trenches, by circumstance.

There's certain songs I'd like played at my funeral, but it simply isn't done in the Catholic faith. Screw that. Who's funeral is it anyways?

I hear that the Catholic Church is about to make a u-turn and get even MORE traditional than they already are. Good Grief. Are we going back to Latin Masses? That ought to leave the middle-of-the-road Catholics far behind. Might as well be Islamic.

I went to a Catholic funeral with a work friend a few years ago. She saw the Priest cleaning out a chalice and she said, "Oooh, a man who cleans up after himself". I love outside observations. It's really refreshing.

Carolyn said...

I'm new here - can I comment late in the game? LOVE the post! I'm surrounded by holy rollers in Atlanta and they pray constantly for my soul. Back off people and give me back my beer. I am a recovering Catholic in the midst of planning my fil's funeral and oh for the love of Pete just douse me with whiskey and set me aflame when I go.

Anyway, loved your post and the rest of the blog. I'll be back to pester you for sure.

crabbydad said...

Hey Carolyn, your comments are always welcome here. I like the whiskey/fire idea. Me, I'm gonna be stuffed, shellacked and turned into a coatrack. You know, be useful in the afterlife.