So, you finally earned that fancy degree your parents were all up in your grill about. As your well-meaning aunt wrote on your Facebook wall: CONGRADZ!!1!!! But alack. The celebration was short-lived as you soon discovered that your “education” and “internships” proved no match for the “skills” and “experience” possessed by your School of Hard Knocks – and ITT Tech-attending counterparts. Sadness! Now you’re living in your parent’s garage, drinking all the sodas out of the soda fridge, skimming old issues of The New Yorker because you don’t want your brain to rot, and crying yourself to sleep every night because you are a Royal Failure. And on top of everything else, your student loan payments have just come due. Aw shucks, FML. But do not despair, my little corn nuggets, do not despair. For I have four little words that will exempt you from making monthly payments, as per that unnecessarily wordy/scary contract you e-signed. Four little words that will deliver you from your pathetic, comfortable, middle-class, moocher existence. Four little words that will save your credit and potentially your life: Fake your own death.
Sure, death is dark, depressing, and a total drag. But it’s not for real. Not yet. And seeing as how you already did the whole goth thing in high school, there’s no reason that your faux final bow has to be all morbid and Wednesday Adams. After all, college taught you that anything worth doing is worth doing drunk. Or however that particular adage goes… I skipped Shakespeare Day due to Swine Flu. Anyhow, before you head South of the Border to elude the Feds and sip Johnnie Walker from coconuts with Tupac and Coolio, why not go out with a bang? Here are a few ideas to guide you towards the (figurative) light. Have fun, and see you guys in Cancun, xoxo!
As the Latins wisely noted in some Jake Gyllenhaal film, your coffin is the canoe that will deliver you across the River Styx. Or the Rio Grande. So why not sail in style? Everyone is bedazzling everything these days—denim jackets, canvas tote bags, celebrity vaginas. While there are many professional bedazzling services (check your local Yellow Pages), such services can be pricey, so screw that. Save those unsigned, seven-dollar graduation checks from elderly relatives to pay your dowry when you commit a cultural faux pas and in a public token of apology are forced to marry Mexico’s Dr. Phil. Fail to plan, and you plan to fail. So to get in on this sparkly trend without breaking the bank, throw a DIY Bedazzling Party. Toss a few Pepperidge Farm Milano Melts on a platter, dole out some vodka, and invite your craftiest girlfriends over to get busy with their stud guns and Hobby Lobby jewels. By the end of the night, your coffin will be glistening, and you’ll be drunkenly weeping that your “besties” are more interested in polishing off the bottle of Absolut and comparing the benefits packages of their stupid salaried jobs than in your impending “demise.” But whatever. It’s not even a big deal. Everything makes you weep lately. Everything is a tiny tragedy. Because you are twenty-two and you’ve blown it.
The Operation: Airdrop
You swam with the dolphins in Florida, bicycled and/or wandered (Hiked? Is that what hiking is?) through two of America’s national parks, and survived a nasty bout of food poisoning in Cleveland. You’re a world traveler, and something silly like loss of life shouldn’t stop you from continuing your adventures. Go on, ring your local wax museum, order up a body double, and hire a helicopter to airdrop the waxy mass into a remote area of Africa, Australia, or western Asia. Out there, the opportunities for corpse adventure are virtually limitless, but may include consumption by ants, vultures, and/or hyenas; trampling by elephants and/or kangaroos; and discovery by horrified natives—don’t worry, they’ll get over their shock once they realize “you” will make a great Yankee Candle. And, best of all, you can hire a National Geographic photographer to document “your” fall so you’ll have envy-inducing postmortem pictures for Facebook. Take that, Ms. I-Got-A-Huge-Government-Grant-to-Study-Existentialist-Doorframes-in-Paris!
Freedom. Independence. Choice. Those sure are some great vague concepts! But those of us who completed our kindergarten Johnny Appleseed module know that America’s greatness is not rooted in “Democracy” but in apple trees. To have a little patriotic fun with your dickhead relatives after your “death,” all you need are basic InDesign or Photoshop skills, a post office, and annual access to pies. First, send your relatives a quaint card from “Granny Smith Funeral Solutions” that announces your wise, pre-death decision to go with the “All-American Burial.” What’s that, Cousin Bobby? You want to know what exactly an “All-American Burial” entails? Well, your deceased cousin’s body has been dumped in a hole in a fertile field in Washington State. Atop her body, an apple seed was lovingly planted. Now in six to ten years, a magnificent tree will grow, bearing ripe, delicious fruit. Each autumn, you and your asshole brothers will receive a home-made pie in the mail, and in this way, will literally enjoy a piece of Americana, and your cousin’s decomposing flesh, for years to come. Eat up, Bobby, you little ingrate, or a voodoo curse will be put upon you. And your curse will be ten times worse than regular people’s, because you’re an imperialist piglet whose Bible-thumping, Dr. Pepper-guzzling, double-parking father built a “mini Nascar track” atop an ancient Indian burial ground. So eat up, Bobby, eat up. And nobody has to know it’s Sara Lee.
The Big Exit
You don’t care what that Princeton dropout and failed screenwriter Greg Gatsby says. You actually completed college, and therefore know that getting to witness your own funeral is The Real American Dream. So picture this: You’re a “goner,” and all of your loved ones, donning their very best black Banana Republic fare, gather to pay their respects in a high-ceilinged church with stained-glass windows. They weep (your loved ones, not the windows) and, as they weep, they shake their heads in disbelief. They mutter prayers. They gaze mournfully at your casket. Bummer. But, wait. You aren’t dead! Nor are you just sort of chillin’ in your casket waiting for everyone to suck it up and leave so you can make a run for it! Suddenly, a badass rock anthem of your choice (think: “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “You’re So Vain,” or “Born This Way”) blares over the speakers. The pure musical sassiness drowns out the plodding organ music, and from the back of the church, your harnessed self swoops down, soaring only inches above the stunned crowd’s heads. You see, you’ve not been put to rest (uh, Snore Fest), but attached to the rafters by a cable just like those people in the Spiderman musical. And now, a modern-day Peter Pan or Bono, you fly off towards Neverland, that worry-free paradise of eternal youth and childlike wonder. (Or just through the window and into the chartered Gulfstream waiting in the parking lot to fly you to Cabo, where you won’t get bills in the mail. Where you can listen to “Margaritaville” as much as you want, and as loudly as you want, without your hot neighbor calling the cops. Where you can buy Chiclets and bogus diplomas from clever toddlers. Where no one will berate you for drinking all the Fanta. Okay, so it’s not exactly Neverland, but as they say, debt-dodgers can’t be choosers.) And now, finally, you soar, you soar, you soar!