I am back at it. I know, I know I have been slacking and you been checking back hourly to see when the next post will go up… right? The truth is I attended a bachelor party this past weekend in Wisconsin Dells and I had a run in with a guy named Jack and I also got sun burnt on the golf course (these are the best excuses I have come up with so far). This will NOT be about the bachelor party even though I am sure you would be amused to hear about how I still behave like an 18-year-old. Unfortunately, I will have to wait for the statute of limitations to pass before I will get into any stories from that adventure.
The other half of the truth is that I have been trying not to force stories so I am writing stories as they come to me. So, here we go…
I have an irrational fear of death (stick with me, this isn’t going to be as bad as it sounds). I admit this to you because, well, because I apparently I enjoy over sharing about myself and I have a hard time not being honest. Anyway, the concept of death is one that can keep me awake for hours and probably will tonight (so, if you don’t like this story you can at least enjoy that I will be mentally tormenting myself tonight).
I don’t know why this is the case, maybe it is a crisis of faith but I really struggle with the idea that I might not see the people who I love again (EVER again). Also, it is that feeling of envy. Like, when I was little and would have to go to bed before everyone else… I don’t want to miss out (I am selfish, I know). Now, I don’t know if this is really weird or if you are reading this with some agreement but it is important to set up my story. So, for better or worse that is how I feel about death.
Now that you’re in such a good mood…
November 2004. My grandma passed away, it was not expected. She was a terrific lady and was always so nice to me and as I write this I realize that I miss her more than I thought.
I was a sophomore in college. I remember getting the call from my dad. It was one of those calls that you know right away when something is wrong and your heart turns to cement in your chest.
Does your stomach hurt from laughter yet? Sorry… I’ll keep going.
Anyways, I obviously had to head home for the funeral. By the way, it really sucks that you can’t tell professors at college that you have to miss a class or test due to the death of your grandmother with out them looking at you with a little bit of skepticism (I know of people who used this excuse).
The one thing I can say I don’t mind about death is that it often brings people together. In this instance, my immediate family all together for a couple of days and that doesn’t happen very often. Plus, since I am the youngest by 9 years (have I not mentioned that I am a mistake? Oh, sorry mom and dad, an “unplanned surprise”), so I don’t have a whole lot of memories with my whole family together so when the opportunities arise they are always very special to me.
The day of the funeral came and I was to be a pall-bearer with the other grand children. Now, having already explained how I feel about death it should come as no shock to you that this was weighing on my mind all morning leading up to the
wake/funeral. Needless to say I was a little pre-occupied. Not to mention that I hate funeral homes. The stale smell is horrible, but what’s the deal with the lack of refreshments? There is always more coffee than anybody knows what to do with but what about those of us who don’t prefer coffee? (I will never understand hot drinks) Why not some sandwiches or something? Instead I am forced to eat hard cookies and a dixie cup of watered down punch or diet root beer shasta… everything does not need to be depressing and some people eat when they are feeling down. Figure it out funeral homes.
So, here I am sipping on my dixie cup of punch and crunching through my 3rd or 4th cookie (which probably had nuts and raisins in it, ugh) trying my best to avoid awkward conversations when I made eye contact with a man across the room. I tried to make it evident that I wanted to be left alone but I guess this look needs perfecting since people always approach me when I truly wish they wouldn’t.
It was the director of the funeral home and he looks exactly like the guy you just pictured. We started chatting with the usual, “how do you know the dead person in the other room?” and some other small talk. I was looking for anyway possible out of the conversation but I found none. Then he asked, “where are you going to school?”
“University of Minnesota” I said. It may have been the longest answer I had given to one of his questions to that point.
“What are you studying?”
Then he actually said this and I could not make this up, I am not that good…
“A lot of people who study psychology become morticians, have you ever considered that as an option?”
“No…” I said as I was thinking, What. The. Hell is happening?
“We offer internships, what are your plans for the summer?”
Ok. This is where I would like to hear from the audience, this is a very inappropriate time for this question, right? Well, I thought so. I was frozen, I had no clue how to respond and this weirdo was just staring at me with a blank expression. He could not have picked a worse candidate for the job, I was having a hard enough time with the idea of being a pall-bearer, and now, this guy was making me picture myself embalming people and hosting funerals?
Time for Tim to get serious. I was prepared to act out of character and confront this guy for asking me this as I was grieving with my family so I said, “I don’t have any plans, I’ll give you a call sometime to discuss the option.”
Yeah. That’s right. I said that. Right in front of everyone in an almost to appropriate tone of voice. I am a bad ass.
Seriously, I had no clue what made him approach me and ask me to be an intern but there was no way I would ever consider being a mortician. Until about a week later…
I was still irritated about the food situation and I was also thinking about how weird the funeral director was. And as I was thinking about the possibility, somewhere around beer 11 or 12 it started to sound like a decent idea. I was starting to believe I could revolutionize the industry. I mentioned the idea to a few of my roommates and it was greeted with laughter, mocking and ridicule… which, of course, made me all the more convinced that I was on to something that I could be good at.
The next morning I woke up with a hangover and a slightly different outlook than the one I had so stubbornly believed in less than 12 hours earlier. The idea was dead and so to was the dream of, Tim “The Mortician” Severson.