30-Day Song Challenge, Day 24: A song you want played at your funeral

I don’t know how long the bottle of wine has been in our kitchen, but I must have seen it in passing every day for at least a month or two. Randomly today the label caught my eye, and I had a flashback to a moment nearly 15 years ago when I realized that things that day were going to end very, very badly.

I was still working at the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel — my first full-time newspaper job — and an obituary came in that made me very nervous about my future in journalism. Because it was for a dog.

“We wouldn’t actually run a dog obituary along with ones for people,” I said. And flagged it as troublesome content that shouldn’t be printed. There were meetings. And despite my efforts, it ran (I think). I saved a copy.

I remember thinking how pissed I would be if one of my relatives had died and when I went to get his obituary, I saw that it shared space with an obit for something that “enjoyed back fence patrol.”

Now, whenever I see the words cabernet sauvignon, it usually makes this spring to mind. I’m not even getting into the type of person who names a dog Cabernet Sauvignon, either.

Which is a nice way of leading to the song I would like played at my funeral. This of course implies that I would like a funeral, which I would not, but since such ceremonies are for the survivors’ sake, I promise not to haunt anyone who throws one.

I would prefer a wake, in which people get together and share fun stories and drink a lot, ideally innovative pitcher drinks that involve lots of vodka. So the music should be more upbeat — no lugubrious hymns invoking rivers, salvation, sleep or any of that. Maybe some Dolly Parton songs. And “Wonderful Shadow” from Tanita Tikaram for a bit of mellowness.

But really the sounds I care about are the stories, not the songs. Here’s my theory about “reincarnation”: The way you live on is how you affect people when you’re still alive. If you teach someone something new that they’ll pass on to others, if you inspire them to treat others as well as you treated them, and if they get to pass on the love that you showed them, then that’s even better than reincarnation — that’s your legacy, living on forever.

I guess that’s my deep thought of the day. And it only took a bottle of wine and a long-dead dog to get there.

WHAT SAM WORE: 6-26-11
The shirt: Cotton polo from American Eagle Outfitters.
The pants: Vintage khakis by Chip & Pepper, from Last Chance.
The shoes: Tumble loafers by J Brand shoes, ordered online.
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2 responses to “30-Day Song Challenge, Day 24: A song you want played at your funeral

  1. Sam, let’s take a solemn vow right now that whichever of us dies first must go to the other’s funeral and tell numerous stories, with accompanying air quotes, about our friend’s enjoyment of “back fence patrol.” I beg of you.

    • Done! As I was writing this, I was thinking about all the other different odd things that GJDS years imprinted on my brain. The latest one was inspired by an early morning meeting that Sharyn and I exited and realized that we had, separately, both fixated on a small dark hair that we had just noticed was growing on the outside of the managing editor’s nostril. (“I didn’t hear a single thing anyone said in that meeting,” I said later. “Me, either,” she replied. Any surprise we became such good friends?)

      It became karmic when I realized that, at 40-something, I had developed a similar dark hair on the side of my nose. I refer to it as The Dennis M. Herzog Hair, and am crazy-vigilant about its eradication with tweezers.

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