We’ve all heard the classic adage that “funerals are a celebration of life,” but not only is this phrase a hackneyed old cliche, it’s also the biggest lie in the world. Frankly, if you tell me that funerals are for “celebrating life” and not “mourning death,” then you lie like a magic carpet on Aladdin’s floor. Traditionally, funerals don’t conjure up images of balloons and horns and party favors; instead, they consist of hundreds of people with bloodshot eyes weeping inconsolably while somber minor-key music plays in the background. Now if this is your idea of “celebrating,” you’re probably a schadenfreude-fueled sadist and I suggest you check out any prime-time reality TV series which finds joy in the misfortune of others; it’d be right up your alley.
We shouldn’t wait until people die before we celebrate and appreciate them. If funerals are supposed to be celebrations of life, then why don’t we hold them while the person is still alive?
I’d be down to attend a funeral for a live person. It’d be a fun appreciation party at which people would celebrate their friend while he or she is still alive. It doesn’t even have to be on that person’s birthday, I’d dig it if someone took a random Saturday and said, “Hey, friends, we’re meeting up at the Red Lion downtown and we’re gonna celebrate the existence of our awesome friend Stephanie.”
And then there would be some ice cream cake and a below-average Duran Duran cover band and everyone would laugh and sing and drink and smoke as friends take turns at a podium sharing fun or embarrassing or potentially-incriminating memories.
“I remember when Stephanie partied a bit too hard during spring break ‘08 in Cancun.”
“Stephanie is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met: one day she offered me her French fries and the next day she offered me her liver.”
“Stephanie and I met on the first day of my freshman year in high school and I spent the next four years daydreaming about making out with her in my ’62 Chevy.”
People would laugh and be merry and have a groovy time because they’re sincerely celebrating the course of a life thus far. It’s not like funerals for dead people where people say they’re celebrating life and claim that they’re not mourning but come on now, who are you fooling? Put down your tear-soaked Kleenex and look at me with your red and diluted eyes, and try telling me that again!
People should hold appreciation parties for their friends because you never know when the Grim Reaper will decide to crash someone’s quick run to the overpriced coffee shop, or when a random gust of wind at the Underground station will push you onto the westbound District Line train tracks, or when a maniacal pretzel will decide to get comfortable with some pharynx lining and remains lodged there until the words death by choking have been etched onto a freshly-printed death certificate. Life is fleeting, futile, and unpredictable – any breath could be our last.
I understand if random appreciation parties aren’t exactly twirling your curls right now, or if the idea of a funeral for a live person is kinda creeping you out. Still though, find some other way to appreciate the people in your life who mean more than just a hill of beans. Don’t wait until death knocks on their door; do what I do sometimes although it always leads to my friends asking me if I’m inebriated and not of sane mind. Take a minute right now and call that sucker up and say, “Hey, jerkwad, I appreciate you!”