September 30, 2008
The weather around the Northeast has been horrible the past week or so and the scooter has remained in the basement. Luckily, during the time the scooter’s been away I was able to do two things I really enjoy.
Help someone move.
Get dressed up and attend calling hours (more on that in a second).
As much as I like moving – not at all – and as much as I like rain – also not at all unless it’s the gentle rain on a Caribbean or Hawaiian island – there’s something really crappy about moving in the rain, wind and rush hour.
Invariably, the tarp will come undone, some furniture will get rain damaged and ruined, tempers will flare, and someone (me) will make it clear once again that he doesn’t like moving. Anyone. Anytime. Anywhere. FOR ANY REASON.
Moving blows. It’s beyond me why anyone would move their belongings without the help of three or four burly guys. I’m built like a box with sticks. While I might have some chops and be able to lift lots of stuff, wet furniture isn’t one of them.
Some of this moving angst came from living in about a billion places during college. I went from dorm to NH to home to dorm to the Fenway to Huntington Ave. to apartments to the dorm to the dorm to the dorm to apartments and then to the dorm.
These moves were all part of being a Resident Assistant during school, but moving from room to room and dorm to dorm never got any easier. Then, when I left college I moved back home and soon purchased a pickup truck. Bad move.
The stupidest people in the world drive pickup trucks. Not because a truck owner is a class of person who often works with his hands. Not because truck owners listen to country music. No, they’re stupid for having a truck because everyone asks them to help them move.
While I enjoyed being able to drive over curbs and thwart numerous snow storms, I was less than pleased at the prospect of the phone calls that came at the end of every month.
“Please, I just need to move a couch.”
“C’mon, it’ll take 15 minutes.”
“Dude, it’s just a few boxes and a rabid ferret.”
“Honey, it’ll mean so much to my sister.”
Since getting rid of the truck, I’ve helped people move three times in eight years. That’s a pretty good record, but the bitter taste comes back up like lemony bile anytime I sense a move request coming my way.
Let’s not dwell on that. The move is over and the house is crammed with furniture. I have a trash guy who will take anything smaller than an African Elephant, so I’m back to normal. Now let’s talk about death and calling hours and semantics and wakes and funerals.
People are dying all over the place. First it was Jesus, but that was a while ago. More recently it’s been Don LaFontaine on Sept. 1
Paul Newman just last week, and then a good friend’s father last Wednesday night.
Now, the trouble with death (and this goes for religious holidays and occasions of all types) is that hardly anyone knows the proper names for things. No fewer than 47 times did people say “the wake” yesterday.
It’s clear they meant “calling hours” but society hasn’t bred people to be smart. It’s bred them to just follow along with what people utter and take those utterances as truth.
Case in point is a recent Ethicist podcast where one of the questions had to do with whether a person uttering “such and such ride is closed for repairs” while at Disney World had been ethically irresponsible. Well, yes they had because they knew that the ride was NOT closed. They subsequently enjoyed hours of fast rides with no lines because people in line were too lazy or dumb to check out the rumor for themselves.
This is how it’s been for years with people saying they’re going to a wake. As I’ve found out (by the way, I used to call the calling hours wakes as well), a wake is the celebration AFTER the burial that celebrates the deceased’s life.
It’s like a party. Remember the film Waking Ned Devine? Well, you should go rent it. It’s fabulous. But essentially, the entire movie is a complex and fun celebration of Ned’s life – a wake.
I guess my ranting isn’t going to get you all to reform your ways. But please, at least a few of you take my words to heart and make 5769 a great year for everyone around you. Both the dumb and the smart.
And stay out of the rain.
More to come…