I was in fifth grade when I first read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I immediately felt myself getting caught up with the escapades of this rascal and his no-good friend. I turned each page, eager to find out what antics they would get themselves into next. It was just like what I wished my life would be like. Of course that would require a significant amount of bravery from me, not a trait that I had gushing from my pores, so instead I washed TV.
While many parts of the book are still vividly memorable to this day, one story always stood out. After running away to become pirates, Tom and his friend Huck Finn realize something very shocking: everyone thinks they’re dead. They decide to do what any reasonable person would do.
They peak in on their funeral.
After seeing exactly how people would remember them after their inevitable demise, they reveal themselves to be alive. SURPRISE!
Since the first time I read this, I always wondered how people would react to this particular surprise. I thought about faking my death (not in a weird, disturbing way) then listening to my eulogy. I might even spend a few days haunting people. Just show up in their house and tell them that I can’t move on to the after life until I pass on the very important message that the world does not like their penchant for the word “bro” and they should stop it immediately. It would be fun and I would be doing everyone a favor.
Of course in the end, I would never do it. It would be rude to put my family and loved ones through that, plus I would be afraid that the eulogies would not be very good. I would like to think that when I die I will be compared to Mother Teresa or Ghandi at my funeral, not have people say things like “Nathan was always a funny guy. I remember this one time when he was funny and stuff…”
I realized today, though, that I see this type of prank entirely differently as an adult.
I was reading the news as I am prone to do when a story out of Brazil caught my eye. A carwasher named Gilbert Marcos was walking the streets when he heard a rumor that he was missing a huge funeral. This wasn’t just any funeral, mind you. This was HIS funeral.
It seems that after a carwasher was shot to death, the police misidentified the body. A few days later and some very unpleasant and incorrect phone calls the later, the family was ready to lie their loved one to rest.
Marcos knew that it was rude to miss a funeral, much less his own funeral. These people are celebrating your life. The least you can do is show up.
When Marcos walked in, the reaction is what you would expect. People ran. Others fainted. I’m sure at least one person awkwardly greeted him like it wasn’t a big deal that the person who was supposedly in the casket up front was definitely not in the casket up front.
The reaction was exactly what I would have thought people would do, but as I read this an entirely new possibility sprang to mind. With states passing conceal and carry laws, I would be afraid that my funeral would end with someone screaming “ZOMBIE!!!” then unloading an entire clip on me. Then everyone would have to have a real funeral for me plus one for whomever they had assumed was me to begin with.
Suddenly a mildly innocent death-faking idea had become dark and very scary to me.
Maybe I have lost the childlike wonder that allowed me to read Tom Sawyer and want to follow in his foot steps. That’s not necessarily the worst thing ever. That kid would not have been nearly concerned enough with the walking dead and, if a Zombie Apocalypse ever took place, would have been very unprepared.
So right here, I would like to ask the world a favor. If you hear that I am dead, then you see me somewhere, please do not immediately shoot me. Ask me what I’m doing there first. Maybe I have an interesting story about the afterlife for you. Maybe I was never dead, but rather had runaway to be a pirate. That’s still something I could do in life.
If I try to eat your face off, though, go ahead and take your best shot. You can’t mess with zombies even if they are me.
- Brazilian man interrupts own funeral (upi.com)
- Alleged Dead Mean Shows Up to His Own Funeral (newsy.com)
- Man appears at his own funeral in Brazil (foxnews.com)
- Police: Mom Faked Child’s Death; Accepted Money For Funeral (wreg.com)
- Kansas City to ponder funeral picketing ban (kansascity.com)