My Unremarkable Life
(found in A file called untitled)
by Irv Pliskin
I died yesterday.
It wasn't particularly cataclysmic, nor was it painful, fortunately. One of my 83 year old arteries began to balloon, what they call in medical circles an aneurysm. It burst, and I rather slowly, and painlessly bled to death.
I lay down for a nap, after telling my wife I felt a little light headed, and that was it. I died.
I didn't know quite what to expect. No blowing trumpets. I would have been surprised if there had been. No shining figures were waiting with open arms to take me into nirvana. There were no shimmering, golden tunnels to follow to the bright light that led to a promised land. There was just a sort of peace, and then an awareness that I was no more a body.
Frankly, I didn't know what I was, or where.
Well, where, I knew. I was at home, and then they took me to the funeral parlor, washed me and prepared me.
Very interesting to see them take my best suit and cut it down the back to fit it on over clean underwear. Silly for them to bother with underwear, but they did. They took my new blue button-down shirt--I haven't worn white shirts for over 60 years--and they took the most expensive tie I ever bought, my 8th Air Force cravat and carefully tied that around my neck with a very fastidious knot. I was much impressed. The tie, a bright red tie, with the 8th Air force emblem on it and pictures of airplanes, logos and and other pertinent data looked very good on me. I was quite comfortable with the entire thing. Then they put me into a fairly comfortable coffin, nicely upholstered, and that was it for the night.
In the morning, I waited anxiously for someone to bring the morning newspaper. Fortunately, the mortician did. He even opened it to the obituaries, probably checking to determine what share of the market he was getting, and I looked at the page with real interest.
For years, years, I had opened the paper every morning, flipped to the obits to see who I may have known, or what important person left us. I was always impressed with the kind of people who got obits: A garage mechanic, A housewife. A man who owned a beauty parlor. And yet sometimes they would completely ignore someone I thought was important, like my dear friend Chuck who had been a medical professor for over forty years and had pioneered a lot of advances. He never got a written obituary. I was truly surprised about that. I wondered how, or if, they would handle my unimportant life and run an obit for me.
And there it was:
I read that, and was really impressed. I think it is much more impactful that it should be. I guess I can be comfortable that I really got a newspaper obit. As I said, I had wondered how they might deal with my unremarkable life.
Well, they didn't have a viewing. They wheeled me into the sanctuary with the flag-draped coffin closed. A few of the remaining members of the Ex- POWs placed a white poppy on the coffin. Nice touch. The rabbi prayed, a few friends and my kids gave respectful talks.
And now we are off to the cemetery.
The hearse is pretty comfortable, and the grave is ready. I suppose once they lower me in, I'll be cut off and out of it pretty much. My wife will join me, in the space alongside of mine, when she's ready. I wish I could tell her it isn't so bad, nothing dramatic, but nothing bad either. At least, so far.
I don't know if I have to hang around or not.
Nothing is happening. They're droning about me, as they line up to put flowers on the coffin and the inevitable lumps of earth the tradition calls for. An honor guard is playing taps on a tape recorder fitted into a bugle.
Our house isn't far from here, maybe I can scoot over there, get to the computer and write all this out for them. Leave them something to consider.
What do you know, I did it. I'm back now at the cemetery, and I left it all there. It's on a file called untitled. If they ever open it, they'll get this message. Good deal.
Oh, what do you know, there's a staircase over there, I hadn't seen before. I guess I should go up the stairs and see where it goes.
It can't be bad, just interesting. And if they find the notes I left, my tombstone epitaph will probably be okay, too. How about this:
" Adman: Well, I finally made a deadline"
Irv Pliskin is a retired advertising agency owner. He is a combat veteran of World War II and an Ex Prisoner of War of the Germans. Married, with three kids, and four grandchildren he devotes his time to writing flash fiction. He hopes, that someday, he may become the Grandma Moses of flash fiction. He lives with his wife of 57 years in Cherry Hill,NJ. Contact Irv.