Please allow me to apologize in advance for going off the Geneva rails here, but the confluence of a Rockford soccer tournament and the perfect news story created a column possibility that I just couldn’t pass up!
(Thank you, Rick Nagel, for allowing me to temporarily digress!)
If you recall, on Friday, we discussed the fact that best defense against this fragile mortal coil is . If we can leave this planet with no regrets and our compatriots willing to celebrate our travails and triumphs, then the Grim Reaper will have truly been cheated.
Wouldn’t you know, the very day after I penned that piece, the story of a Commerce City, CO, man who wrote his own obituary, hit the news wires. And if the measure of a death notice is the degree to which it makes you wish you’d been the deceased’s best friend, then this is the best obituary I’ve ever read.
In fact, Michael “Flathead” Blanchard defined exactly how to not go gentle into that good night, and in doing so, set the bar really high for the rest of us.
After the obligatory formal first sentence, the death notice read, “Weary of reading obituaries noting someone's courageous battle with death, Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades.”
I love it!!!! Clearly, Mr. Blanchard, was a man who neither gave quarter nor took it. There was no whining, no overly flowery soliloquy, and no tears. He didn’t do what the doctor said, and he died. Cause and effect! It’s as simple as that.
Mr. Blanchard went on to describe his cause of death as, “He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.”
There’s certainly something to be said for knowing exactly who you are and, within the bounds of reason, making no apologies for it. Of course, I’m not so sure I’d recommend the “younger women” if you’re married to a wife like mine because getting caught could turn out to be the proximate cause of death.
The obituary continued with, “He was a Republican delegate, life member of the NRA, founder and president of the Dead Cats MC. He loved music.”
I’d be willing to bet that if, instead of going off the religious right deep end, the GOP was a wee bit more willing to follow in Mr. Blanchard’s ample footsteps, they’d win a heck of a lot more elections.
Flathead went on to list his surviving family members, including an ex-wife (that one’s not hard to understand), his son Chopper, who turned out to be a cat, and his aunt Cynthia, whom he described as “his favorite.”
He lamented, or celebrated—I’m not quite sure which—that most of his childhood friends turned out to be “criminals, prostitutes and/or Democrats” and I’m sure Mr. Blanchard considered the latter to be the most egregious.
Then he suggested that someone named Baba Yaga could “kiss his butt.” Now, that’s the way to get the last word!
And lastly, I love this part too, he asked his friends and family to “… stop by and re-tell the stories he can no longer tell. As the celebration will contain adult material, we respectfully ask that no children under 18 attend.”
An X-rated memorial service! Why didn’t I think of that!
Mike, his real son and an obvious master of understatement, told a Denver Post reporter that, “He lived every minute to its fullest and then some.”
As you might imagine, the online obituary guestbook currently boasts more than 500 signatures and final thoughts from folks all over the world. What a way to go! Well done, Mr. Blanchard!
It’s funny, I’ve always told my friends and family that when it’s my time, I want my casket to be the bar and the drinks will, literally, be on me. And everyone gets a big black Sharpie so their final thoughts can be buried right along with yours truly.
Trust me, just like my newest hero, I will be writing my own obituary.
But since turn about is fair play and psychologists say that authoring your own obituary is a great way to take stock of your life, I’m going to challenge all of you to do some writing, for once. But we’ll make it fun. I don’t want to see what your obituary should say, I want to see what you’d like it to say.
A Patch comment is the perfect amount of space. I suggest you get started!