Eulogy for a Friend

With death, it’s best when it’s quick and unexpected. Except when it’s not you, and you have to give a eulogy. Then, you want something long and drawn out, preferably one of those “six months to live” scenarios. I know it sounds grim, wishing pain and suffering on your friends and loved ones, but it’s really better that way: at least for you.

If you’re lucky and there’s a ticking clock situation, not only will you have time to prepare your remarks, but the deceased might even write a bucket list, which is a friggin’ eulogy gold mine. Since you’re penciled in to speak for the walking dead, chances are you’re pretty close to him/her, and you’ll be a part of at least one skydiving/running of the bulls/Burning Man/Vegas outing/trip to Amsterdam.

Aside from having a bit of fun with your pal, before they’re worm food, you’ll get some great material to work with. It won’t be the humdrum, day to day, stuff that puts people to sleep. It wont be the sentimental, I’ll miss you man, garbage that’s met with a mix of tears and pity. It’ll be something that stinks of adventure, and it’ll have that living-in-the-face-of-death, inspirational vibe that people eat up.

Of course, you’ll want to be selective about what you include. Skip over the blacking out and waking up in a puddle, bit; skip the Gilmore Girls marathon; skip the entire trip to Thailand; and definitely skip the Vegas wedding: leave that fun surprise for the will reading.

Include any stories, that you might one day tell to a chick at a bar and/or her parents. Include the most daring bits, that you’d see in a Disney film. Include anything that you did which meets the same criteria, and say they did it. Your buddy’s rotting in a damn box, he/she won’t abject. The goal is to make him/her look good, it’s not about you, dammit.

If they’re lucky (and you’re not) and they drop dead suddenly, try not to be bitter in your speech. Also, don’t try to mask your bitterness with humor by making light of the death, no matter how comical. Even if you’re certain a Darwin Award is in the mail, the funeral is, in fact, just too soon.

If the deceased was a real shit, or a bore, you’re pretty much expected to make things up. Don’t worry, even if people know you are talking out of your ass, they won’t call you on it. I mean, seriously, they have more important things on their minds than whether or not Bill worked in a soup kitchen. However, keep it reasonable. Nobody’s gonna suspend disbelief enough to accept that 300 lb Skippy climbed mount everest, or agoraphobic Martha spent a year with Green Peace. But, reading to orphans a couple times a year, maybe(?), sure, why not.

One final tip. No matter what, avoid mentioning debts. Even if your fermented friend had those six months to pay you back, it’s still considered in extremely poor taste if you try and guilt the grieving widow or strong arm the surviving mother out of the twelve bucks you are owed. Just let it go, and fill up on shrimp at the after party.

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