Just stop it!

  1. Passed. When somebody dies, say they died. When you tell me they passed, I think they’re in the fast lane or they’re went past GO and collected $200. 
  2. Kick the Bucket: Yes, say this if you want, but nobody says this any more so if you say it people will look at you funny. Of course, if they’re already looking at you funny, then you’re on your own.
  3. Dirt Shower. This is gross. Just stop it.
  4. Lost her Battle: Hmmm. Needless to say, everyone loses their battle sooner or later, but if somebody fights as dread disease for a long time, they get special treament in the obituaries when they take a dirt shower. However, don’t say, “Dirt showers for $100, Alex.”
  5. They met an untimely end. This presumes there’s such a thing as a timely end. 
  6. Lived a long and happy life. Aw, isn’t this sweet? This is just another way of saying that being dead is okay because the guy/lady who kicked the bucket did a lot of good stuff, had fun, made money, had great sex, wrote twenty bestselling novels, &c. If you’re talking about a person who’s my age or younger, I don’t want to hear the long and happy life euphemism. Makes me think it’s time for me to do.
  7. Bite the Big One. The big what?
  8. Bought the Farm. Sometimes, people actually buy farms, so this leads to confusion. Just stop it!
  9. Number was up. I’ve always wondered where these numbers come from, like what is there a big lottery wheel or cosmic game of craps? The only good thing about this, is that if your number isn’t up, you can do any dangerous thing you want without worrying about biting the big one.
  10. Shuffled off the mortal coil. My goodness, are people still saying this who are (a) sane, (b) not perforning in a Shakespeare play, or (c) haven’t already passed? 
  11. Was called home. I hear this at funerals which is one reason I avoid the kind of funeral where somebody’s likely to say this. 
  12. Gave up the ghost. Look, this is pathetic and starts people talking about going to a conjure woman and getting protection against haints. Paint your door blue and old uncle Bill won’t haunt your ass.
  13. Got struck off the Chrismas letter list. Fortunately, fewer and fewer people are sending out Christmas letters these days and those who still do make the recipients wish the senders had been called home at the beginning of the year before they had time to do stuff to brag about in the letters. 

Malcolm

 

Everybody knows everybody here, so a drowning brings out all the neighbors

A steady line of cars has come and gone at the house across the road where the parents of the 34-year-old man who drowned in a nearby lake yesterday live. The son died on his father’s birthday and his daughter-in-law’s child’s birthday.

Lake Allatoona, GA.

We don’t know them well, but well enough to know the news and that the family gathered at the son’s house last night and told stories into the night.

Now, nothing will never be the same. Those who remain seem to bear the brunt of a family member’s death, for they are still here and have to cope with it, settle all that needs to be settled–his house, his company, his will, all he left behind.

I cannot imagine a parent celebrating his/her own birthday again with this tragedy inscribed on the date. My brother and his wife lost their son to suicide and they make sure they are never home on that sad anniversary. Our neighbors might end up doing the same thing, avoiding everything that reminds them of yesterday afternoon.

As weekends go, the Labor Day weekend holds its share of accidents and other tragedies. For the most part, we don’t know those whom we lost. Today, I know his name and his parents’ names. He was a great guy, folks are saying, and I don’t doubt them. I didn’t know him but I think it’s sad that he’s gone. I worry about his family most of all and how they will move forward. I hope they can.

–Malcolm