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Monday, February 20, 2012

Carved In Stone - Last Thoughts

Tombstones are our last chance to leave a lasting message, memory or image for those who survive us and I for one believe that it is entirely underutilized. There are exceptions, however, and these are the stuff of legend. Some of the best tombstone engravings ever have made it into urban legend. They may actually exist, they may not - I refuse to look, as I am fearful that my heart might actually break if I learn that these gems are not actual epitaphs. Besides, I am notoriously lazy.  Here are some of the best:

- On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.
- I told you I was sick.
- I would rather be here than in Texas.
- He called Bill Smith a liar.
- Tears cannot restore her, therefore I weep.
- I was somebody. Who, is no business of yours.

These are fine examples of leaving behind a bit of humor. I enjoy the fact that often the tombstone is used by the surviving husband or wife to administer one last dig at a mate, dearly departed. "I plant these shrubs upon your grave dear wife. That something on this spot may boast of life. Shrubs must wither and all earth must rot. Shrubs may revive, but you, thank heaven, will not."

Others are rife with irony:

- Ellen Shannon - age 26 years, Who was fatally burned March 21, 1870 by the explosion of a lamp filled with "R. E. Danforth's Non-Explosive Burning Fluid."

-Harry Edsel Smith - Born 1903 - Died 1942 - Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down.  It was.

I have a few of my own that I will sock aside, to be used as appropriate:

- Train - 1, Jerry - 0
- Was instrumental in re-introducing the word "Guttersnipe" into the English Lexicon.
- I should have worn a hat.
- Apparently, I am no Bear Gryls.
- You may want to burn my sheets.
- If there is a God, I want him to know that all that talk of atheism was malarky.
- You're welcome.

I would love to hear other suggestions. The way I figure it, we should convey ourselves in death as we do in life - does getting buried have to be so grave? Ha... That's a pun.

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