12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn

James Proimos

Roaring Brook Press

The casket is closed. It was a plane crash, after all.
The pews overfloweth. As do the sentiments of the never-ending line of avid admirers, casual acquaintances, business associates, relatives, and what have you that take their turn at the podium on the church stage.
One person leaves, another takes his or her place. It’s been going on for hours.
A chubby lady wobbles to the microphone:
“He was as fabulous as a man could be. He was rich, but he was charitable. He was strong, he was sensitive. I was lucky to know him. We were all lucky to know him.”
She wobbles off.
A tall man in a black suit with a big red bow tie sprints up to the pulpit:
“He was a god. A god, I tell you.”
He sprints back to his seat.
An entire family, one of them holding a crying baby, gets up there and sings “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”
Now the whole place is bawling.
There is a long silence.
Suddenly, all eyes turn to me. I seem to be the last person who might have something to say.
I slowly walk up to the front of the church. I stand at the podium. I clear my throat.
“He was an ass. My father was a complete and total ass.”

Text copyright © 2011 by James Proimos