On a recent, sunny Sunday afternoon, I was enjoying a relaxing drive when I started thinking about death. However, it wasn’t my excessive speed, or Billy Joel’s ‘Only the Good Die Young’ playing on the radio that got me thinking about death. Instead, it was a large green sticker affixed to the car in front of me. It was a silhouette of a man on a tractor and in large type it read, “In Loving Memory of Horace.”
My initial thought was that Horace must have been a pretty good guy. I mean, at least one person loved him enough to obscure their view in order to pay tribute to him. That’s is a good sign, right? And Horace obviously loved his tractor, although I guess you can drive around on a tractor and still be a real son-of-a-bitch. For all I know, Horace died in a freak tractor accident while attempting to run over a group of high school kids who had jumped his fence looking for mushrooms. But, the optimist in me chooses to believe that Horace was good people. I just wonder if Horace would have wanted to be remembered by a green vinyl sticker on the back of a Chrysler LeBaron.
Being the narcissist that I am, this got me thinking about my own imminent departure and how I would want to be remembered. After a few grand visions of my friends holding candlelight vigils with candle holders that had been custom-made to look like me, and my band playing a sold-out show while a spotlight shined on my empty drum throne, I realized it doesn’t matter how I want to be remembered.
Just like you can’t pick a nickname for yourself and expect people to start calling you by it, you can’t tell people how to remember you once you die. So, instead I started thinking about how I do NOT want to be remembered, which I think is something more reasonable to ask of others. So friends, family, colleagues and random people who love me, I created a guide for you. Please print it out and refer to it whenever I die.
How Not to Honor The Classless Chap When He Dies
No “In Loving Memory Of” Stickers – I’m not a heartless guy. I think it’s genuinely sweet when people feel so strongly about someone that they create a sticker for their motor vehicle. I just don’t want to be honored that way because then someone may use my tragic death as a subject for a blog post, and that’s just tacky.
No Facebook Wall Posts – I know that when I die you’ll be destroyed inside and will want to let the world know it. And what better place than social media, right? Well, I can’t tell you not to post things like, “I’ll miss The Classless Chap and his staggering genius” on your own Facebook wall, but I do ask that you not to post it on mine. I ask you this not because I’ll never be able to read all your high praise, but because I don’t want you to provide fodder for the weirdos who like to read the walls of recently deceased people they didn’t even know. Have you ever done that? I always find it morbidly fascinating.
No T-Shirts – As much as I’ve always wanted to see my face air-brushed on a T-shirt, I’d rather not be remembered via a medium best suited for teenagers wanting to commemorate their wild spring break in Panama City Beach, or adults who still chuckle when they see the words “Big” and “Johnson” next to each other. Liquor me in the front, poker me in the rear, but please no t-shirts.
No Tattoos – I didn’t make this rule because I don’t want my image to be on your body the rest of your life. I do. I just can’t trust that the tattoo artist you choose is going to properly capture my handsomeness. So, it would be like getting tagged in a unflattering photo on Facebook that I can’t untag. Even if the tattoo artist is amazing, how can I be certain that you’ll stay in shape? I’m way too vain to have a pock-marked face just because your ass starts sagging and cellulite sets in.
Please note that you are exempt from these rules if you become President of the United States. In that case you may put Classless Chap commemorative stickers on the back of the Presidential Limo and on the side of Air Force One. Actually, the word commemorative makes me want a plate too. So please, Mr. or Mrs. President, create a Classless Chap commemorative plate. I would prefer fine porcelain with a 24-carat gold rim, but engraved pewter will do in a pinch.
On the off chance that you are elected President, here is a sticker style guide: The image may be one of the following: My face, a wine glass, or a silhouette of a guy looking up porn on his iPad. Also, my name must be in a clear, legible font that is no smaller than 125 pt. (No comic sans, please.)