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The Big Sleep: Death can be fun and Beneficial.

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The Big Sleep: Death can be fun and Beneficial. :lol:

By Victor Pross

"It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens,” declared the perpetually pessimistic Woody Allen. Views like this give death a bad name. Death has received a lot of bad press and so it is no wonder that it is universally reviled. In the Letters from a Stoic, Seneca wrote: “You want to live—but do you know how to live? You are scared of dying—and, tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different from being dead?”

It is a crying ignominy that the lighter side of death is never presented. I think dying doesn’t have to be the morose and cheerless event everybody insists on making it. Death can be fun. More: it can also be beneficial.

Stevie Smith said it all: "If there wasn't death, I think you couldn't go on.” With this more optimistic approach, let us proceed to explore how death can be fun and beneficial. Let us not think of death as the end but rather as a beginning. And let us not forget that life is temporary whereas death is everlasting. I think there is something to be said for that.

One of the first benefits that come to mind is one’s reputation. Eulogies are always sweetly sugar-coated and are purposely the complete opposite of the usual vile libel we receive in life. Everybody speaks well of the dead. There is even a hesitation to speak “ill of the dead” from one's sworn enemies. Amazingly, your enemies are able to recall better aspects of your character. You never get that while living. Even when the dead are spoken of in a disapproving manner, it is usually considered poor taste. Let them rest in peace! You get the picture. Alive, you are an asshole. Dead, you are affectionately recalled.

The lives of the dead are retroactively subject to change so that a “difficult woman” can be reconstructed as a “misunderstood perfectionist,” and a “dumb blonde with big boobs and small brains” can be transformed into a “victim of the patriarchy,” and a “psychotic nut” can suddenly be altered into a “sensitive artist.”

Sure, death seems like an inflated price to pay for respect, but remember that until she died, Marilyn Monroe was laughable. She was a luscious Hollywood parfait, her body parts viewed as much greater than her whole. The posthumous “unearthing” of Marilyn’s unacknowledged talent—her revision as feminist icon, as victim of a misogynistic, male dominated system would seem to be a sign of progress indeed.

People who commit suicide possess a wisdom that is lost to those who cling to life. It was the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre who invented Existentialism, a philosophy that articulates life’s nauseating emptiness, this big vacant nothing that all of us fight so hard against. But suicides are the people who have given up the battle. They are tired and they want to go to sleep. And as best as I can recollect, sleep is good for us.

Suicide has the added bonus of having a cult following: the fan club of self-destruction resulted in a Rolling Stone cover of Jim Morrison in one of his famous lizard-king poses with a caption that read, “He’s hot. He’s sexy. And he’s dead.” And let’s not forget the attention that Hendrix, Kurt and Elvis receive. They are more popular dead than alive. In fact, when the word that Elvis had died was received, one showbiz kibitzer said: “Good career move!” Elvis alive was a problem. Who wants an old and fat Elvis Presley? Elvis dead was a property.

Personally, I don’t take death seriously at all. We all have to go sooner or later, so why get all wound up over it. Let’s have fun. I don’t want any irritating weeping and self-serving grief at my funeral. When I shake off this mortal coil, I would prefer to have my life celebrated. I don’t want to be mourned. You knew it was coming. I would want to be recalled as a creative and humorous person. So in the spirit of that, let me tell you how I foresee my funeral:

First of all, I would insist in my will that the assembled are to wear Groucho Marx glasses and mustaches. This would include the individual who is to perform the eulogy. (Of course I would want any flattering acclamation to be followed by a debate as to its truth). I would want my widow to speak fondly of my sexual prowess...now that I’m a “stiff.”

Secondly, I want my body to be left to the care of taxidermy. I read somewhere modern practice of taxidermy incorporates many crafts: carpentry, woodworking, tanning, molding and casting. It also requires artistic talent, including the art of sculpture, painting and drawing. I can see my body being stuffed like a cute little teddy bear. At the funeral, I would want my corpse erected upright in a surfing pose—complete with a swimming suit and sunglasses. (I never did surf in life and I don’t think that a dead man’s last wishes should be denied).

Thirdly, I would prefer to have my wax-like carcass on permanent display at some museum. I prefer that a hand-crafted effigy to be buried in place of my actual cadaver. Most important, let's have some laughs.

Lastly, I would prefer to have Frank Zappa CDs playing at my funeral in place of that awful lame organ music so characteristic of some funerals. That shit bores me to death. In the words of Charles Frohman: "Why fear death? Death is only a beautiful adventure." I say make it a creative and humorous adventure! Death is not to be feared. It is one of the absolutes!

If you don’t find anything humorous about death, think of it as the Big Sleep. Still, everybody has to die. Such is life. Anyway, who wants to live forever? Is that really how you want to be remembered? That prick who just won’t die?

In famous last words, Lord Byron on his death bed was reported to have said: "Now I shall go to sleep. Good night."

*In case this needs to be stated, this is a humor piece. This site lacks a humor section and thus I chose miscellaneous.

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