“Joe was a good person. A renaissance man. Much loved by his family and friends.” And, in just a few seconds, made Joe’s 83 years seem almost generic, although his life was far from it. His accomplishments were made trivial. And the mourners patronized.

Funerals are a twisted tribute. We sit on horribly uncomfortable benches in our most uncomfortable, colorless clothes in middle age settings listening to dark ages music moderated by people who, except for one day a week, do these things for living. These preachers and priests and rabbis talk about people they hardly know while reminding us that we need to get ready to meet the same fate.

Then we get in our cars and drive in line behind the hearse with our lights on to a park designed not for the living, but to stand, regardless of the weather, quietly and contemplate merits of a wooden versus metal coffins versus cremation or body donation, only to get back in our cars to go to a place where we drink, if we are lucky, and eat and tritely comfort each other by changing the subject.

Sure, there are some services where family and friends share stories. Photos are displayed. Favorite music added. Flowers are tossed. Bagpipers play. Rifles are fired. Statues unveiled. Jets overfly. And checks are written to favorite causes. But for most of us, we sit silently sad and uncomforted. The innovations for this tired ritual are minimum and mundane. Online obits. Memories on DVD and YouTube. Stories of sadness on Facebook. Virtual cemeteries.

Joe was a very good person. Joe was a renaissance man. Joe was loved and will be missed. Joe did accomplish much. Traveled widely. Mentored many. Entertained more. Created wealth and enriched others. Made many laugh. Joe deserved better, but what?

Lee Leslie

Lee Leslie

I’m just a plateaued-out plain person with too much time on his hands fighting the never ending lingual battle with windmills for truth, justice and the American way or something like that. Here are some reader comments on my writing: “Enough with the cynicism. One doesn’t have to be Pollyanna to reject the sky is falling fatalism of Lee Leslie’s posts.” “You moron.” “Again, another example of your simple-minded, scare-mongering, label-baiting method of argumentation that supports the angry left’s position.” “Ah, Lee, you traffic in the most predictable, hackneyed leftist rhetoric that brought us to the current state of political leadership.” “You negative SOB! You destroyed all my hope, aspiration, desperation, even.” “Don’t you LIBERALS realize what this COMMIE is talking about is SOCIALISM?!?!?!” “Thank you for wonderful nasty artful toxic antidote to this stupidity in the name of individual rights.” “I trust you meant “bastard” in the truest father-less sense of the word.” “That’s the first time I ran out of breath just from reading!” “You helped me hold my head a little higher today.” “Makes me cry every time I read it.” “Thanks for the article. I needed something to make me laugh this mourning.” “If it weren’t so sad I would laugh.” "... the man who for fun and personal growth (not to mention rage assuagion) can skin a whale of bullshit and rack all the meat (and rot) in the larder replete with charts and graphs and a kindness..."“Amen, brother.”