I may be posting “Help Wanted” ads in the next few weeks. I’m thinking of hiring about 200 part-time actors who I’ll pay to attend the funerals of deceased clients intent on memorable send offs.
This latest brainstorm occurred to me last week as I was sitting there in the pew mourning Arnold Palmer. I’ve been to weddings that were less uplifting.
A veritable who’s who of golf and business celebrities brought tears to our eyes as we eulogized this great man for his philanthropy, his warmth and his sporting achievements. The Golf Channel covered the whole thing live, including the ceremonial jet fly over at the conclusion.
It’s a petty admission, I know, but I became envious.
I realized my funeral would be nothing like his.
Instead of a line of private jets circling over the airport named in my honor, there’d be ample parking with just a few duct-taped jalopies outside Latrobe’s cheapest local funeral home.
It saddens me, sure, but I prefer being sad to being busy piling up the time-consuming accomplishments it’d take to ensure a well-attended funeral.
I thought if only I could pay people to show up and say nice things about me it might lessen the sting my survivors feel at being stiffed in the will.
Sure, it’d be better if they were actual friends telling the truth, but any lying stranger will do in a pinch.
I believe many people will agree — and pay for the privilege.
How much would you pay to ensure 100 soulful weepers showed up at your funeral?
Maybe $1,000? Maybe $2,500?
Of course, warm bodies to mourn a cold one is just the beginning.
I envision tiered levels of escalating services.
I contend having a sultry blonde stranger attending the funeral and weeping uncontrollably would add a dash of romantic intrigue to any memorial.
Who is she? Why is she so upset? Did the old man have a secret lover? And a buxom babe to boot?
Oh, the stories would resonate any time your memory was discussed.
Or you could go the complete opposite direction and hint at altruistic devotions.
Think of the reaction if you had some humbly dressed pseudo-social worker show up and declare that you spent up to 40 hours a week working in the local soup kitchen.
“He swore me to secrecy,” he’d say. “But he was there helping with the cooking, the serving, or just to be a strong shoulder to lean on with residents who needed a good listener. He was a true saint. He will be missed.”
Imagine the impact on your legacy if your loved ones heard that line of bullshit.
It would color their impressions of you for as long as they lived. And they’d feel stabs of pitiless guilt for all the times they accused you of being out drinking with your bar buddies night after night after night.
Take a wild guess as to the inspiration for that last one.
Other scenarios could include the appearance of an exotic, mixed-race prospective love child, a mysterious biographer, or a suspicious Russian spy.
Want to set off a belated panic among your greedy survivors?
Hire a spiffy industrialist to show up in a chauffeured limo to say he was a secret partner in spectacular investment from years ago and had been curious to see how you’d spent your half of the fortune.
So, you see, you don’t need to worry about a funeral that’s boring or poorly attended.
You have it in your power to stage a funeral that will convince your survivors you were well-loved, you were generous and that the time you’d spent on earth was time well spent.
Of course, that’s something that’s always been within your power.
I guess it comes down to whether you want to enrich a guy like me or devote your days to enriching the whole world.