Death be not grim

July 14, 2006 at 12:57 am (Uncategorized)

Just three weeks ago, I was contacted by a local man who felt he was nearing the end. In his distress, he was putting his affairs in order and asked me to write his obituary. Very flattering. But I declined to write his obit and instead encouraged the dude to shake off the gloom and live for another 30 years. It was very profound. Then I learned the man had been run over by a beer truck and they were still looking for all the pieces.

Ha! No, I kid. The man is alive, well and in better spirits. Which is good. I’ve written dozens of obit features in my day and I don’t like them very much. Once, I wrote my own obituary and gave my roomate the creeps. It was grandiose and maudlin and a lot of fun to write. I’m done with obits for now.

The following is a gem from the Richmond Times-Dispatch that descriptively portrays the life of the deceased. Kind of makes you wonder what words will follow you to the grave, doesn’t it? If it doesn’t, it should. I think I hear a beer truck rolling in your direction.


(Fred) Clark, who had tired of reading obituaries noting other’s courageous battles with this or that disease, wanted it known that he lost his battle as a result of an automobile accident on June 18, 2006. True to Fred’s personal style, his final hours were spent joking with medical personnel while he whimpered, cussed, begged for narcotics and bargained with God to look over his wife and kids. He loved his family. His heart beat faster when his wife of 37 years Alice Rennie Clark entered the room and saddened a little when she left. His legacy was the good works performed by his sons, Frederic Arthur Clark III and Andrew Douglas Clark MD, PhD., along with Andy’s wife, Sara Morgan Clark. Fred’s back straightened and chest puffed out when he heard the Star Spangled Banner and his eyes teared when he heard Amazing Grace. He wouldn’t abide self important tight *censored*. Always an interested observer of politics, particularly what the process does to its participants, he was amused by politician’s outrage when we lie to them and amazed at what the voters would tolerate. His final wishes were “throw the bums out and don’t elect lawyers” (though it seems to make little difference). During his life he excelled at mediocrity. He loved to hear and tell jokes, especially short ones due to his limited attention span. He had a life long love affair with bacon, butter, cigars and bourbon. You always knew what Fred was thinking much to the dismay of his friend and family. His sons said of Fred, “he was often wrong, but never in doubt”. When his family was asked what they remembered about Fred, they fondly recalled how Fred never peed in the shower – on purpose. He died at MCV Hospital and sadly was deprived of his final wish which was to be run over by a beer truck on the way to the liquor store to buy booze for a double date to include his wife, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter to crash an ACLU cocktail party. In lieu of flowers, Fred asks that you make a sizable purchase at your local ABC store or Virginia winery (please, nothing French – the *censored*) and get rip roaring drunk at home with someone you love or hope to make love to. Word of caution though, don’t go out in public to drink because of the alcohol related laws our elected officials have passed due to their inexplicable terror at the sight of a MADD lobbyist and overwhelming compulsion to meddle in our lives. No funeral or service is planned. However, a party will be held to celebrate Fred’s life. It will be held in Midlothian, Va. Email for more information. Fred’s ashes will be fired from his favorite cannon at a private party on the Great Wicomico River where he had a home for 25 years. Additionally, all of Fred’s friend (sic) will be asked to gather in a phone booth, to be designated in the future, to have a drink and wonder, “Fred who?”



  1. jarheaddoc said,

    I heard a story about an avid hunter whose final wish was to be cremated and loaded into shotgun shells so that his buddies could take him hunting the next fall.

    A very sweet old lady I met through the course of my work had outlived two husbands. I asked which one she wanted to be buried next two and suggested maybe she should be buried between them. She got very mad and clearly stated she didn’t want to be buried next to either of them and especially not between them.

  2. jarheaddoc said,

    Write an obit for this hypocrite, Mark

  3. Bulldog said,

    I always read the obits first. I want to be sure I’m not in them and can live another day to make my husband’s life miserable. I save Mark’s column for when I go to the bathroom (light reading)

    I’m hoping my obit states “she was the Queen Bitch of the Lost Sole” in it somewhere.

  4. Linda said,

    Hope we’ll be getting Mandy’s professional opinion on this post sometime today … Mandy, did you ever look up that dog obit we were talking about in the blog a couple of weeks ago?

  5. Mandy, the obit writer said,

    The animal obit was an obit for a ferret and I’ll get that from work today and send it later.
    I thought Mr. Clark’s obituary was the funniest piece of writing I’ve read in a long time. It sounds cliched, but even though I never met Mr. Clark or his family, I definately felt like I knew him after reading his obituary. The Richmond Times-Dispatch ran a story last night about the large number of guest book postings from around the world his obituary has received since publication. I couldn’t help but wonder if Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter were among the signers.

  6. Linda said,

    Yes, you had a ferret obit and I had one for a dog from the Rumford Falls Times.

  7. AO said,

    Linda, I think I have that ferret obit somewhere. Let me check. If I still have it, I’ll send it to you.

  8. LaFlamme said,

    Owen Moore has gone away
    Owen Moore than he could pay

  9. LaFlamme said,

    Ahhh, I got nothing.

  10. Bulldog said,

    Am I the only one that noticed how Flamer ran an obit piece after the drug blog?? Is there a link here? Subliminal message maybe?

  11. Oopsy said,

    Death’s attire may include
    a face that smiles slyly
    at life’s ironies

  12. Mainetarr said,

    I once wrote my own obit, too. I wanted to write a special one for each of my parents, but at the time they died I was too distracted to do it. My obit would, I hope, be funny. I don’t want it to say I died peacefully or any stupid bullshit like that. I want it to say I went out kicking and screaming and I was NOT happy about it. I want a rank nasty joke in my obit somewhere too. And I want to spill all the dirt I have on some people in my obit, too. LOL That would be funny!!

  13. AO said,

    Yeah, but, would The Sun Urinal print it? Wonder what will be said about The Fat Bastard?

  14. LaFlamme said,

    Mainetarr’s obit will look something like: Gail Tarr died today at the age of 212. She lived the remaining century and a half of her life in luxery after single handedly rocketing author Mark LaFlamme to unprecedented wealth and fame. Tarr died while giving surfing lessons off the coast of Tahiti. She was holding a glass of wine when she was swallowed painlessly by a blue whale. Tarr’s last words were reported as: “Son of a!” Reached at his castle in Transylvania, LaFlamme was deeply shaken. “I bet she ain’t dead,” the author said.

  15. Cynthia said,

    Oopsy! Great haiku!

  16. Mandy, the obit writer said,

    I can post the ferret obit if anyone wants to see it. As for me, I haven’t written my obit yet, but I already know it has to contain the following three words: ubiquitous, insatiable and pedantic.

  17. LaFlamme said,

    I think my three words for you were better.

  18. Mandy, the obit writer said,

    I agree. Maybe they could go on my tombstone.

  19. LaFlamme said,

    Jesus, only 18 hits on this topic? Apparently, the rest of the world isn’t as ghoulish as we are.

  20. Mandy, the obit writer said,

    So it would seem from the looks of things.

  21. LaFlamme said,

    Pttth! Life freaks.

  22. Linda said,

    It’s a good topic Mark. It’s just that sometimes shit happens, you know?

  23. LaFlamme said,

    Anybody familiar with Alice Cooper’s “I Love the Dead?”

  24. Mainetarr said,

    Great obit, Mark. I hope it all goes down that way, time will tell. Ha!

  25. Kathy said,

    Hmm… sweet! [*../nice_site2.txt*]

  26. Kaycee said,

    Sharp thkgniin! Thanks for the answer.

  27. said,

    Nice list of attainable options! Most professions have professional development requirements to maintain credentials and keep skills up to date. Writing is really no different, but there is good news for us not often applicable in other professions. We get to choose the pro gro that works best for us and there are so many great ways to access the training.Like? 0

  28. immobilienfinanzierung said,

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