Saturday, June 2, 2012

Obituary Wary

I’ve reached the age where I’ve started to look at the obituaries in the newspaper everyday.  I’m still young enough where it’s a shock if a classmate appears, but I’m old enough that I’m starting to see former teachers and elders from church.  After a while, I started reading about some of the strangers who just had an interesting picture posted next to the notice.

While I learned a great deal about the recently departed, I started taking the text with a grain of salt.  It seems every father was beloved.  Every teacher had a love for nurturing minds.  Each person listed leaves behind a grieving multitude, who will never be able to replace them.  How can this be?  What did they write when Hitler died?  “He was a good dictator”?  “He made great strides in population control”?

When the old codger across the street from me died, all I could remember was how he used to put a traffic cone in his driveway when I held family barbeques, so no one would be able to back onto his precious asphalt in order to get off our dead end street when the event was over.  I guess his obituary might say that he was survived by his beloved driveway, but I doubt it did.

Just once, I’d like to see a death notice that told the unvarnished truth.  Something like...

                           In memory of Douglas “My Way or the Highway” Stevens

After a long illness, where he drained our savings with treatments that wouldn’t work, even though he knew he was a goner.  Eighty-one years on the planet, though he claimed to be seventy-nine, like that would make a difference.

A pain in the ass to his wife and a puritanical scold to his children, Douglas looked at every situation and then did what was best for him.  A lifelong resident of Milwaukee, he was known by few and liked by fewer.

He was a member of Kiwanis, Elk’s and Rotary Club, though the membership scoured their rulebooks looking for ways to get rid of him.  Especially despised by the VFW, who remembered him as a coward first and a lying thief second.

He is survived by Mildred, his wife of sixty years, who really appreciates the break;  His son Douglas Junior, who plans to mark the one-year anniversary of his father’s death by changing his name to Wilbur; and Albert, who will not attend the funeral because he’s still steamed about his father getting drunk at Christmas and calling his daughter-in-law Betty a whore.

Douglas will be cremated because he wanted to be buried.  The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, send a donation to finance the outhouse that will be built over the unused burial plot.

A memorial brunch is planned, where Duke, Douglas’s prized schnauzer, will be slow-cooked and eaten. 

Please consider these other items written and/or performed by Marc Holland:
Live performances at:

Three plays co-written with Mike Davis-

Crenshaw Family Reunion 

Beauty and the Deceased

Night of the Livid Dad (one-act)

One play co-written with Kathy Holland-

Warren’s Peace

Are  all available at:

Coming Soon: A new one-act co-written with Kathy Holland-


Will be available at:

Novels under the pen name Quentin Tippler-

Hats Off For Homicide

And Coming Soon:

On the QT: The Collected Short Fiction of Quentin Tippler

Are for sale at:

Novels under the pen name Carl Stafford-

Son of Mann

And Coming in 2014:

Grandsons of Mann

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