by Karin Britt Gall
Normally, I don’t open junk mail, but the other day I made an exception.
“What’s that?” my husband Jack asked.
“A survey from a funeral home,” I said, scanning the somber gray letter.
I had just finished reading a series of vampire books and my mind was in a morbid state.
“You’re kidding, right?”
“No, they want to know if I’ve ever thought of making my funeral arrangements in advance.” I laughed a little uneasily.
My husband snorted. “Trying to drum up business, huh?”
“It should be illegal.”
“Well, they have to making a living, I guess. A few years ago lawyers weren’t allowed to advertise or go after business if someone was hurt in an accident or illegally laid off either.”
“We’re talking about something more serious than a layoff. Death is more permanent. They do have a line that says this is just a general distribution, and it isn’t intended to go to a home where illness or sorrow exists.”
“Right,” he snorted.
“It still gives me the creeps. Maybe they get advanced notice, sort of like an e-newsletter,” I said.
“That’s ridiculous. You just became middle-aged. It’s probably just an automatic mailing based on your age. Do you think they have an angel hotline?” he guffawed. “Maybe you’ve watched too many episodes of that angel television show.”
“Automatic mailing, automatic writing, séances, blood, embalming, it’s possible.” I was back in my morbid frame of mind now. “They do deal in death. Maybe they get advance notice from St. Peter.”
Jack laughed. “You’re starting to believe that weird stuff you’ve been reading.”
I sat down and started writing.
“What are you doing?”
“Filling out the survey,” I replied.
“Well, I learned a long time ago never to tempt fate. It’s sort of a guarantee. I don’t want to torque anyone or anything off.”
My husband shook his head in amazement.
“Besides, they sent a self-addressed stamped envelope. As a writer, I really can’t resist that, and somehow they know it. I know they do.”
Then, Jack reminded me about his favorite television ad. “What about that old woman who looks at her husband in his casket and says,
“Jim Bob would have just loved this?” he said, cackling. “I’ll just bet he would. If were still alive.”
“Poor woman. She probably agreed to do the advertisement so she could get a free funeral.”
Jack eyed me with concern. He was 15 years old than me and funerals were a delicate subject even at the best of times.
“My favorite ad though is the one in this week’s newspaper,” I said. “A local funeral home is advertising a ‘Lunch and Learn.’”
“What the hell do you need to learn about that? You die and someone picks out a casket or an urn. Seriously?”
“It says to ‘Please call and reserve lunch and a seat because reservations are limited.”
I continued to read the ad. “It also says that it’s good to learn about the critical benefits of Advance Funeral Planning and that there’s a question and answer session afterward.”
My husband was clutching his stomach and laughing hard now. “Jim Bob would have just loved that,” he said, gasping for air.
“I think we should be serious about this,” I said in my no nonsense voice.
“Well, since I’m probably going to die first, I suppose you are. Tell you what,” Jack said, “when my time comes, just put me out at the curb in a garbage bag.”
“Really? Where’s my phone? I think I’ll make reservations for this luncheon. Never hurts to be informed.”
I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up just in time to see my husband snarl and slip my cell phone into his pocket. I guess he wasn’t taking any chances.