Fun With Wills
I wrote my will last night. Didn’t quite finish it, but came close. I am not ill or feeling particularly morose. I simply have been putting it off for ages and finally surrendered to the task. I have been the executor of two estates thus far and one would think that after those experiences and the chaos involved in poorly constructed estate planning, that it would have prompted me sooner, but I simply viewed the chore to be exactly that… a chore and boring.
However, once I actually sat down and started the process, having logged onto one of those “Will-O-Matic” sites that abound on the net, I found it to be actually quite entertaining. What a great opportunity. For $19.00 I can say whatever I want, make whatever demands that I choose, and the law says that my executors have the obligation to listen to my nonsense and carry out my wishes no matter how ridiculous if they want to get paid.
Now while I have a knack for living well, I am not a rich man. My insurance will afford my wife the standard ability to “survive me” (in more ways than one when you think about it), becoming another one of those widows who is tearfully described in the obituaries and eulogies as devastated by my passing while she fills out the travel forms on Expedia and I deny her none of it. She put up with me. She deserves it.
But that aside, I have not much in the way of a fortune to leave behind. No bequests to build new libraries at any universities, no endowments to educate the deprived, no legacy that will save the Northern Myopic Bog Owl or enough to have my name engraved on one of those well ignored benefactor plaques you see in museums, theaters and on restored park benches. No, I have enough to throw a party and to keep my kids from a future of trailer parks and shopping at Thursday “Check Day” specials at Wal-mart, but that’s about it. Outside of my stuff.
My stuff. Often times I bumble about my house looking for “something” only to end up finding another “something” that I was looking for in a previous bumbling, but could never find at the time but now of course I do… long after I made do with a different “something” that I found, and finally become determined in my frustration that I really will get rid of everything in one massive yard sale and start all over again. Yes, I will! But of course, I make do with the alternate “something” and never get around to it. Death however clears this up quite nicely. Not only do other people have to figure out what to do with one’s stuff, but in a will, one gets to make a special list of special “somethings” that you want to give to very special people.
“To my brother JR” (my father was actually watching ‘Dallas’ when he was born what an idiot) “I leave my lawn bag full of wine-corks. To my dear sister I leave my collection of antique cocaine spoons. To my beloved cousin Frank, I leave my autographed napkin from Joe Terwilliger runner up in the 1997 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. To my unfortunate cousin Velma who lost both arms in that one-in-a-million-chance dodge ball accident, I leave my guitar picks”, etc., etc., etc.
This section of my will I found was a great way to get rid of my crap and stamp it with some sort of holy significance, thereby forcing the receiver to have to hang onto it in the off chance that one of my other kin visits them afterwards and asks “Hey, where did you put that set of mismatched Ford hubcaps that Cousin Doug left to you? I always thought they were really, really cool!” Most people would say “I threw that crap out.” But not my family, oh no. They’d be wracked with guilt. I was having a blast.
Now while the filling out of the particulars my name, address, date of birth, blah, blah, blah was of course boring as all get out, and my embarrassment at having to actually look up the years of my children’s births was very disconcerting (fortunately I was alone so no one could berate me for being a completely self involved and thoughtless parent, which of course I am and my children all know it), and while the glee I took in disposing of my treasured items to my survivors was a balancing factor, nothing prepared me for the fun I had when it came to outlining what I wanted done with my remains. What an opportunity! They actually had to try to do whatever I said for a change! And, the best part was, I wouldn’t be around for them to argue with me about it.
I quickly moved beyond being buried in my car with the radio on, having my ashes sealed into a jukebox or shot out of a cannon, or having my body all dressed up like Big Chief Thundercloud and forcing my friends and family to sit through a full Iroquios death ceremony complete with drums, war paint and a chorus line of screaming tribesmen direct from the Discovery Channel all of that had been done. And anyone who knows me, knows well that I would literally rise from my own ashes and proceed to get violently ill at the thought of some hippie nonsense like burying my ashes underneath a tree, or scattering them over the rutting territory of the Colorado Flatulent Elk or some such. No, not for me thank you. I came up with the idea of having my ashes mixed with concrete and molded into garden gnomes, but I feared that it was not original enough and I did not want to end up in some third generation kin’s yard sale. No, I had to think about this deeply. Seriously.
So far I know I am throwing a party that will get everyone tossed out of the funeral home. Hopefully the police will arrive with water cannon. I also know that I will not end up in Lot 6, Row 144 next to “Wilber Vebelfester – Beloved Father & Adulterer.” I will be well dressed, but in what I am not certain. A kilt? A little chemise Alice Roi number? Fireworks? Acrobats and jugglers? A dwarf tossing contest? I’m still working out the details. Who knew that death could be so much fun?
Thanks for stopping by.