Why Can’t People Have the Decency To Die When It’s Nice Out?

Winter Funeral imageThere are some wholly inappropriate statements one just can’t un-hear in life. Sadly they are so inappropriate as to be utterly hilarious. I heard this politically and socially incorrect statement at least 20 years ago. This morning I was writing an email to a cranky old man I know and it came back. I don’t think it really ever went away. You see, if we live long enough, cranky old man syndrome waits for all of us.

A friend and coworker had to take a few days off to attend the funeral of a relative. It was an elderly relative in poor health, so not a shock. Of course the weather on that day was what television weather personalities cheerfully call a “wintery mix.” For those of you who have never seen snow that is when the temperature hovers around freezing so the precipitation goes from light rain to freezing rain to sleet to snow all in the same 5 minutes then repeats over and over again. The family was trying to make their way to the graveside service with two teenage boys helping their cane walking grandfather shuffle across the ground. Less than 6 feet from the vehicle the grandfather spouted “Why can’t people have the decency to die when it’s nice out?” Intertwined in the ensuing laughter came the retort “You be sure to take your own advice Grandpa.”

“Just don’t you worry ’bout it!” grumble grumble cuss cuss.

Of course, to truly appreciate the situation you have to know that, if statistics and actuarial tables had any basis in reality, this guy would have checked out long before the person whose funeral he was attending. He was tall and rail thin. Looked as brittle as an old dried twig and smoked like a chimney since high school or a bit before. He didn’t eat healthy and liked a few stiff drinks in the evening. Nothing as soft as wine or beer mind you. Why would anyone pay that much for water?

The relative who had passed on the other hand, had tried to eat right and be healthy most of their adult life only to check out 10 years younger than this guy.

Yes, cranky old man syndrome waits for all of us if we live long enough. As we get closer and closer to life’s great check out counter realizing just how full the cart we are pushing really is and trying to ignore the cart we are also dragging behind us, we get a bit bitter. The real Golden Years are start at 20 and end in our late 30s. We can drink, party, pursue whatever gender sparks our powder all night long and still show up on time for work, putting in a full day. By the time we are old enough to retire we generally aren’t healthy enough to even think about trying that and, honestly speaking, most have the kind of body which should be banned from a nude beach. At least a few of the younger generation will hear and find funny some of our outbursts.

The mantra from “Game of Thrones” is oh so true, “Winter is coming.”

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