I Refuse To Go To Your Funeral, Stranger

You may hate me for saying this.

You may become disgusted and horrified and completely frustrated with my opinions here today. You may want to fashion a voodoo doll of sorts with my sparklingly-attractive head-shot (that has obviously been photoshopped) and stick pins in my nether region because of the opinion I want to share with you here today.

But it cannot stop me from telling you that if I happened to go down in a plane crash with a bunch of strangers and we all landed on, oh I don’t know, a desert island or something and you died — I would refuse to go to your funeral.

Here’s why…

Strangers die every day. One-hundred and fifty thousand people die every day that I don’t know. People that you don’t know. And yet if I were to call you up out of the blue and tell you that so-and-so (a person you’ve never heard of) just died and would you please come to the funeral…you would think I was crazy. You’d be all, “um, sorry buddy but I don’t make it a practice of going to funerals of people who I don’t know…”. You’d probably say, “well, please give whoever this guy is my best and stuff, but I think I’ll be staying home and picking my teeth with magazine subscription cards instead of attending, if that’s ok.” You’d probably say something like, “yeah, don’t think I’ll be there, but tell whoever loved him, um, to keep on loving him” and then I’d lose your attention altogether because you’d be all stoked on having just come up with a new saying that would be sweeping the nation pretty damn soon (keep on loving) and which would spark products the likes of which we’d have never seen before (drink cozies immediately come to mind).

But I digress. Back to the funeral thing.

So, now imagine you’re on a plane. You don’t know anyone else. The plane crashes. Two people die. You find yourself on a desert island and some do-gooder has already set up this whole two-person funeral thing with the trademark crosses made out of bamboo and the flowers draped over the bamboo-crosses and this person is obviously some kind of event planner in the real world cause they’re setting all you guys up to stand around the crosses on the beach in some kind of symmetrical fashion and, well… I’d have to stop them and say something like, “Yeah, I’m gonna go look for coconuts, instead… So, um, see you all later…after the funeral.”

Which, for some reason, would piss everyone off.

But if I don’t have to go to your kid’s Christmas play in the real world and I don’t have to go to your Bar Mitzvah in the real world and I don’t have to go to your damn office holiday party in the real world because I don’t know you, then why should I be forced to stand around at a funeral for you on some desert island if I don’t know you at all? You wouldn’t want me to go to your funeral if I didn’t know you — right?

Someone, of course, would probably say “C’mon, pal. He was a good person. Just come with us to the funeral and pay your respects.”

Yeah, guilt-tripper. No matter where you’re at, even on a desert island, there’s always one of them hanging around making everyone feel guilty for eating two coconuts when everyone else only had one and making you feel like crap for hogging the only roll of toilet paper, and of course, for not wanting to go to the funeral of some stranger you know only as guy who asked for extra peanuts on the plane.

Look – you don’t know if they’re a good person. You don’t know what they were like in their real life. You don’t know what they were planning to do upon landing in their destination city. You don’t know him, and neither do I — and I’m not going to stand around and pretend to know them by attending a funeral I have no intention of going to in the first place.

No matter if there’s food or crying or we’ve all been through a horrible disaster — it just doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever to attend your funeral. And I wouldn’t want you to attend mine either if you didn’t know me. In fact, if I had died and you showed up just because someone guilted you into showing up (or because we all got flattened by a huge piano while walking next to each other on a city street) I would come down from the Heavens in my spirit-form and say to you in an echo-ey voice: “I don’t knoooooooooow you. Why are youuuuuuuu here?”

As a dead person, I’d have an echo-ey voice, FYI.

In the end (which is really just the middle of an even longer argument about attending events for people you don’t know just because you are guilted into attending said events due to some kind of cultural or emotional pressure you shouldn’t have to feel) I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done or how long you did it…

If you’re a stranger — there ain’t no reason for me to go to your funeral.

No how. No way.

34 comments on “I Refuse To Go To Your Funeral, Stranger

  1. annabel lee - December 28, 2005 at 8:10 am -

    I totally understand where you’re coming from, I really do…but what if the stranger had really hot friends? Would you reconsider?

  2. Pauly D - December 28, 2005 at 8:13 am -

    AL – Honestly, probably not. Cause at these funerals for strangers they don’t let you talk or socialize. It’s all about paying attention and being somber. I mean, please. There’s only so much of that “shushing” that I can take.

    Now, if they had some kind of food table set up, then maybe I’d reconsider.

  3. always write - December 28, 2005 at 8:21 am -

    You got something better to do, stranded on a desert island? Latte at Starbucks? Library books to return? That rescue ship may never come, and then you’ll be sitting on your rock three years down the road, ostractized from the community, shouting at your volleyball, “I shoulda gone to that damned funeral! Thirty minutes out of my life was all they asked!”

    I’m just saying, think ahead.

  4. Hilary - December 28, 2005 at 8:37 am -

    Pauly, you need to make sure it’s a Jewish funeral, because then you’d go to shiva and talk to the hot friends while eating tons of good food. Ah ha!

  5. Flower Girl - December 28, 2005 at 8:41 am -

    I’m having a ginormous party instead of a funeral, whenever my time’s up. Lots of booze, beer, good music and mingling. No corpse, just some (really good) photos of me with my favorite folks. That’s my plan – if my survivors don’t do it up right, they don’t get the goods in my will.

    Wanna come?

  6. the swede - December 28, 2005 at 8:52 am -

    Been watching Lost, have we?

  7. sandra - December 28, 2005 at 9:03 am -

    I need to rent Lost…but in any case, I think the key is explaining your non-attendance in the right way. If you’re going for the Johnny Mysterio thing, maybe you could (looking with pain and anguish into the distance) say, “I can’t…I can’t…there are just…other things I have to do”.

    And then you go sit on the beach (see: other thing you had to do). Everyone wins here — the girls dig you for being sensitive and mysterious, you don’t have to lie (after all, what is more important than sitting on the beach) AND you don’t have to go to some random stranger’s funeral.

  8. Jeff Wheeler - December 28, 2005 at 9:05 am -

    I’m with Flower Girl. I want people to be happy and have fun when I die. Why should they be sad? I don’t want anybody to be sad… I try not to make people sad when I’m alive. I don’t want the last thing I ever do to make people cry lots, that would ruin the rest of my somewhat-hard-to-believe eternal life.

  9. Flower Girl - December 28, 2005 at 9:07 am -

    I have never seen Lost.

  10. Keith - December 28, 2005 at 9:18 am -

    Haven’t you seen Wedding Crashers? Funerals are great places to pick up chicks.

  11. nic - December 28, 2005 at 9:21 am -

    After so many days on this island, we would end up eating this guy for nourishment, so I think going to his funeral would be showing appreciation to him for giving it up. Kinda like the natives who wash in the slain animals blood outta respect.

  12. Pauly D - December 28, 2005 at 9:22 am -

    Well, it’s funny — this isn’t Lost-centric. I just saw the movie Flight of the Phoenix and that has another one of these “we’ve just crashed and a few people died so now we all have to stand here and look like we want to be a part of this funeral” situation.

    It’s happening everywhere, people.

    I just wanted to go on the record and state that I would not participate in such an event as this.

    Sandra has the right idea. I could just look off into the distance and seem mysterious, while thinking about taffy or something.

  13. Rachel - December 28, 2005 at 9:30 am -

    Hmmm, let’s see, coconut hunting, stranger’s funeral (pretend scales in my hands). Coconut hunting, hands down.

  14. Dave2 - December 28, 2005 at 9:30 am -

    Too many people are stupid, and I don’t like most of the strangers I run into (usually while driving), so I think that I should LIKE to attend funerals for random people I don’t know.

    Then I can stand there snickering softly because they’re dead and I’m not.

    It’s the little victories I treasure.

  15. Tamara - December 28, 2005 at 10:22 am -

    Me thinks Paul has a thing for coconuts…that’s the real thing going on here. 🙂

  16. kristine - December 28, 2005 at 10:38 am -

    haha. nether regions.

  17. Pauly D - December 28, 2005 at 10:38 am -

    Someone is all about base humor.

    I won’t mention names, of course.

  18. danielle - December 28, 2005 at 11:03 am -

    If he asked for extra peanuts, he was definitely asking for trouble. What was his deal? I mean, did he think he was special or something? He’d probably end up asking for more coconuts, when other people were starving on the island. I say good riddance. More coconuts for you!

  19. kristine - December 28, 2005 at 11:45 am -

    should i have instead talked about what i do with my Pauly D doll?

  20. stefan - December 28, 2005 at 11:54 am -

    Which version of the “Flight of the Phoenix” did you watch? I have only seen clips of the newer version, and from what I have seen I like the Jimmy Stewart version more.

    I think the reason that someone stranded on an island would go to a stranger’s funeral is only because if you went through something as traumatic as a plane crash, you would have built some type of camaraderie / connection which would compel you to attend.

    This happens everyday. We had an instance a few years ago where a university (Oklahoma State University) had a chartered plane, carrying basketball players, crashed and killed several if not all the passengers. Many “strangers” attended the services due to the bond of being a fellow university student (or crash survivor in your scenario).

    I’d go if the girls were hot too.

  21. nic - December 28, 2005 at 12:12 pm -

    Did you ever find yourself at the wrong person’s funeral? You get all the way up to the coffin and look in and realize you don’t know the guy?

    Me either.

  22. Pauly D - December 28, 2005 at 12:35 pm -

    Stefan – Thank you for turning that comment around at the end and not making me feel like as much as an a-hole.

    Nic – No, never.

  23. amanda - December 28, 2005 at 1:52 pm -

    yeah, i heard there’s a nude beach on the other side of the island.

  24. Erin O'Brien - December 28, 2005 at 3:08 pm -

    My top concerns would be:

    1) Who would I do?
    2) Who would I cannabalize?
    3) Who would want to do me?
    4) Who would want to cannabalize me?

    Many correlary concerns obviously arise. The condition of my breath and underarms, as well as that of the others would not be small among them. I would also expend much trepidation on the cannabalism issue. The Donner Party reportedly first ate the organ meats of those who transpired. Would I be obliged to warn my prospective eaters that my liver is not highly recommended as far as nutritional value is concerned?

    These points of etiquette, in my opinion, largely outweight the funeral question.

  25. Pauly D - December 28, 2005 at 3:12 pm -

    Erin – First of all, the luck of the Irish to ya! Second of all, I’m glad you’ve got your stranded-on-an-island etiquette already laid out ahead of you — no pun intended.

  26. Matt - December 28, 2005 at 10:18 pm -

    Well, aside from the Island Scenario, they got some pretty good food at some of the after-party-events.. of funerals. 🙂

  27. The Moviequill - December 29, 2005 at 5:44 am -

    I was thinking of being cremated on a desert island funeral…have it around 5-6 PM…and allow the mourners to bring their own food to grill

  28. j. - December 29, 2005 at 6:11 am -

    “yeah, don’t think i’ll be there, but tell whoever loved him, um, to keep on loving him” – classic! immediately, i thought about how that reo speedwagon song would not become a major fixture at funerals.

    i’ve already planned my memorial service; i actually posted a recent entry about it.

  29. j. - December 29, 2005 at 6:14 am -


  30. LisaBinDaCity - December 29, 2005 at 11:06 am -

    I don’t enjoy going to funerals of those I like let alone those I don’t. As for a stranger, I’m with you, no way, no how.

  31. Star Effer - December 29, 2005 at 3:38 pm -

    it used to be that i could only cry at a stranger’s funeral and i found myself scouring the obits whenever I felt uptight. after cleansing my soul with a good soul cry amongst people I would never see again, I’d proceed to get drunk on free booze and hit on the hottest girl at the wake.

    i don’t know if it was the booze, the fact that they had just seen me bawl my eyes out, or contemplation of their mortality, but women would practically rip my clothes off.

    I never felt like more of a stud than at a perfect stranger’s funeral.

  32. Elvina - December 29, 2005 at 8:02 pm -

    This may be off topic, but there is some kind of saying going around that weddings AND funerals are the best places to meet your potential partners. haha…. so for singles like me, we really don’t mind attending them – of course with that hidden agenda.

    In Singapore, for most Chinese funerals, they would set up tables to feed those who come to pay their respects to the dead. So breakfast, lunch and dinner would be served. Maybe you may consider attending a Chinese funeral.

    I once blogged about my own funeral too. Check this out, and let me know if you would attend such a funeral…. 😛


  33. Karla - December 29, 2005 at 8:08 pm -

    I would probably go to the funeral on an island, even though I wouldn’t go to a stranger’s funeral in regular civilization. But I’d do it to pick up guys. I figure there aren’t too many social gatherings on a deserted island, so I better take advantage of any opportunities I get to strut around in my frayed-but-still adorable miniskirt and artfully-ripped camisole tanktop–because I noticed all the girls on LOST look great in their endless supply of perfectly fitted clothing that they supposedly scavenged from suitcases. I’d pretend to be all sad for the dead folks, and moved by the ceremony, so I’d get “sweetness” points. I know what you’re thinking–how hard is it to impress a guy, anyway? In the real world there’s no need to put on a display to catch a guy, all you have to do is say “Hello” and you’re in. But I would imagine the competition for the few decent-looking guys on the island would be fierce, and I want to take whatever advantage I can get. So I’ll throw myself on the bamboo cross and weep, if necessary.

  34. Pauly D - December 29, 2005 at 8:12 pm -

    Elvina – I agree with your funeral plans except ending the night with a Jazz band. Seriously, that would so bum me out. Go with something everyone can get excited about and laugh about, like oh I don’t know – Ice, Ice Baby!

    Karla – You are totally the funeral-guy-picker-upper. Man, throwing yourself on the bamboo cross? Perfect.

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