He Was A Good Man

I wrote before about the Driveway Math Incident, when #5 covered our driveway (and part of the neighbor’s) with the powers of ten, in chalk.

Once #4 also treated us to a driveway makeover.

We pulled into the driveway and our headlights caught a flash of chalk lines. I always like it when the kids hit the driveway with chalk. They’re so creative. I got out of the car and took a closer look.

I was reminded of that bit in the Matrix where the camera shot pulls back and you suddenly understand that the part you were looking at before was only a tiny, tiny piece, and now you’re seeing how vast the creepiness is, like there’s no end to it.

Our driveway was covered in chalk-drawn tombstones. Covered. Complete with names, dates, those horrid Rest In Peace abbreviations, and epitaphs. It was not near Halloween, and at this time we did not live close to the cemetery. I was entirely baffled as to what #4’s motivation was for such an . . . undertaking.

1973-1999 RIP John Fred Stone. He was a good man.

1880-1945 RIP Bob David Thomas. He liked to ride bikes.

1965-2000 RIP Ryan Scott Jones. He failed third grade.

Et cetera, et cetera, on every available inch of the driveway.

I very briefly tried to get #4 to give up a little of her inspiration for this project. She didn’t have much to say except to confirm that none of these were people she actually knew.

Which I guess is a good thing.

I was struck by the facts in these imaginary people’s lives that she deemed worthy to include in an epitaph. Now that we live across the street from the cemetery and walk our dogs there every day, and I’ve gotten more up close views of what people actually do have put on their tombstones, I think maybe I like her ideas better.

CC and I talk about this often when we’re walking the dogs. On tombstones in our (New Jersey) cemetery, there are several Frank Sinatra quotes, many clichés, and a few sports references. There are likenesses of the deceased rendered in granite, along with images of their favorite past times: guitars, cars, deer, more sports. He’s mainly appalled by all these modern trends, so of course I threaten him with what I’ll do if he goes first.

Me: How about, “I had them bury me upside down so the world can kiss my ass?”

CC: Very funny.

Me: How about, “I Did It My Way?”

CC: Only as long as I’m next to one of the other guys that has that.

Me: “He fought the good fight. . . and lost!”

CC: I’m sorry, did you say something?

Me: All of the New York and New Jersey pro sports team logos in a circle?

CC: {silence}

Me: “He fell into a burning ring of fire?”

CC: I hope you go first.

Me: You know, if I get you an obelisk with six sides these would all fit on it. One for each side.

CC: An obelisk, by definition, has four sides. And I don’t think you had six things anyway.

Me: “He was a loner, he kept to himself.” There, that’s six. I win.

In actuality, I will probably have #4 come up with something along the lines of He made delicious pie or He loved meat. And if I do go first, I can only hope he chooses something that would have made me laugh, and perhaps gives some indication to dog walkers that it’s okay if their dog takes a whiz on my plot.

You should check out Clay Morgan’s post on pop culture tombstones at eduClaytion.


What will they put on your tombstone?






42 thoughts on “He Was A Good Man

  1. Kids are so weird. What a great peek into #4s brain. Isn’t she also the Kiss fan?
    I vote for the Johnny Cash epitaph. If you don’t use it let me know. I may steal it for myself. Although I plan to be cremated so I guess I won’t need one…hmm…I may have to rethink this.

    1. Nothing would be more appropriate for a cremation than lyrics from Ring of Fire. I’m sure you could get it on the urn. Yes, #4 is the KISS fan. I guess it’s not that weird for her.

  2. Oh yeh, I certainly like the reference to canine relief. A fireplug maybe. I asked the Geezer what he’d like on his TS. He grinned and said, “This is tongue in cheek, of course, ‘Through long experience I found life isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, however, it sure beats what I’m doing now!’ It’s nice and long and all those inscribed letters ought to cost my off-spring a bunble.” Some human’s are really strange, aren’t they?

  3. Hilarious! I love, “‘I had them bury me upside down so the world can kiss my ass?'” …Okay. Guess what I’m going to be thinking about all day? But I’m sure I will just come to conclude that my epitaph would be, “CITIZEN KANE, BEST MOVIE EVER? REALLY?” Or maybe, “DEATH BY CHOCOLATE”.

  4. Funny post! Of course my mind goes blank, so…maybe I should just have a blank tombstone with on of those dry erase markers attached. It’s kind of scary to think what might end up on there, but they’re going to think what they want about you, no matter what you carve in stone.

  5. Very funny. And, personally, very timely for me since I was just talking about this with my husband, after attending a family funeral this weeks. (Check my blog out for news on that later this week.) But I digress. How do you think Juan wanted to be remembered? Perhaps you should show #4 this, since she and my husband share a mutual affection for KISS.

  6. So, I’m concerned that #4 may have been making a pictoral hit list. I mean, if she drew that on paper for a class at school, you guys would have gotten a phone call and a social worker would have been involved.

    I feel certain #5’s tombstone would read “He loved bacon.” Mine? I don’t know. But I think “Get off my lawn” would be hilarious for anybody.

    1. Every time I cook bacon I think #5! That’s hilarious.

      As for my tombstone, I’ll have to give that some thought. Images of favorite past times has potential. How many tombstones do you suppose there are with pictures of a pack of cigarettes, a cup of coffee, and a book?

  7. I wrote a poem about a year ago during a very dark time in my life titled, “The Epitaph”. In it I said my stone would read “She loved everyone but herself”. Thankfully I no longer feel that way. Hopefully someday it will read, “She owned her life. She didn’t let her life own her”.

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