I’ve recently been brooding over a Will Questionnaire given to us by our financial advisor in an attempt to shore up our financial position. It contains some pretty tricky questions. Not so much on the subject of who gets what. That’s the easy bit. Pretty much everything I own goes to my wife (apart from the paperweight on my desk, a Penn 500 fishing reel, relinquished to me by her brother ten years ago during a game of pool…on the black ball…It was heartbreaking to watch).
Now, while my wife has many talents, the art of slow psychological torture is unfortunately not one of them: if I left the reel to her, she’d simply hand it back to her brother and what would be the point of that. So, I’ve instructed that the reel, named ‘Old Yeller’, after the Yellowfin Tuna she could winch from the seas with consummate ease, be chained to the flag-post that graces the summit of Kilimanjaro. If he can drag his lard-arse up the hill he can have it back.
No, the question that bothers me most centers around the burning issue of cremation. Or not.
Religious reasons aside, in my view there are a helluva lot of pros on the cremation side. For who would openly welcome putrefaction? And yet, while it may seem like a slam dunk case for cremation, there is one powerful argument for burial: you get to leave a kick-ass Epitaph on your gravestone.
Take for instance this one that I stumbled across at a grave in Scotland, somewhere near Pitlochery. Haven’t a clue who it belongs to but it reads thus:
“Death is a debt which to God is due,
I’ve paid mine and so shall you!”
How about this one:
“Here lies an atheist. All dressed up and no place to go.”
Apparently on hearing of this inscription the author CS Lewis was heard to remark,
‘I bet he wishes that were so.’
Of course, if you do go the burial route best get in quickly and get your Epitaph set in stone before someone else does you the honour or you may end up with something like this:
Free your body and soul
Unfold your powerful wings
Climb up the highest mountains
Kick your feet up in the air
You may now live forever
Or return to this earth
Unless you feel good where you are!
—Missed by your friends”
If you didn’t get it, cast your eyes down the first letters of each line of poetry.
Here’s one from the wild west days:
“Here lies Lester Moore.
Four slugs from a 44,
no Les, no more.”
And as for my Epitaph, should the need ever arise, as an aspiring writer I could do worse than borrow this one from Hilaire Belloc:
“When I am dead, I hope it may be said:
His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.”