28 October 2012
Wooden Overcoat Weekend
Sonja, the Hammer and I yesterday attended one of those events you attend more of when you are quite young or getting quite old. Fucking funerals.
The Hammer, much as she would have liked to, did not exactly attend of course. For some bizarre reason dogs, who are so keen to assist those mourning or grief stricken, do not make the guest list of many funerals. She waited, sheltered from the heaviest rain of the season, in the car. This one, an open casket affair, could have done with my dog jumping up on the casket and giving its contents, who she knew well, a goodbye slobber.
I am not much of a mingler until I have drank a good deal and this was not a wake, it was fucking funeral, so I had to get in the insufficient amount of drinking I could get in discretely. Even in my near sober state I still managed to get around the room some. More listenable stories are told at funerals than any other social occasion after all and I wanted to hear my share.
One clutch of people were talking about a charity event they had recently attended. A cancer charity, the very disease that had knocked out the deceased. (If you are curious it was, in all likelihood, exposure to industrial chemicals in the early days of his working life that caused his demise.) Everyone means well who raises funds for cancer research but my feeling is such funds are as wisely spent on environmentalism, for it is our soured environment that causes pretty much all cancer. On the other hand, you cannot unexplode atom bombs and failed nuclear reactors so you might as well keep up the research into the effects of fallout.
The crux of that conversation was this: "Too bad none of the treatments did him any fucking good."
From there the group moved on the conversation, as often happens, to the pleasures of shopping in the United States of America. Such deals! Everyone is pleased at the recent increases to the value of goods you can haul back to our country without paying a tariff. They do not have to smuggle half as much as they once did. No one seems to get the fact that buying shit outside our borders robs our health system of the funds needed to treat people like our dead old buddy. Disconnect - the spirit of our age.
The deceased liked to drink some. He was a Jack and beer guy. Sort of like me. The worst part about dying, I imagine, is you do not get to drink any more. Near the end of the afternoon, after most everybody had drifted away, when the family were saying a rush of thank you, goodbyes, I approached the front of the room to say my own quiet good-bye. From my jacket I pulled a small flask filled with Jack, tucked it inside the dead man's jacket, and joined the rest of the living outside beneath the black as a Jack Daniels label sky.