RULE ONE: Make yours a lively
Funerals aren't big attractions without a bit of flair, so if you expect
a good turnout (even a reasonable turnout in the case of some individuals), you'll have to make your affair one that your guests will
talk about for years to come. You'll need a few angles, press releases will
help, and other ideas in this book will liven things up (not you, but the
RULE TWO: Be neat and make cleanup a snap!
Choose a method that will result in a tidy disposal of your remains. It's
tres gauche (that's French for 'in very poor taste') to require others to have to scrape up
all of your various scattered body parts and organs in an effort to put them
all back in one place. At least consider that someone, somewhere, will have
the chore of bagging you up. The basic rule of thumb? If you won't fit neatly into a lawn cleanup
bag, and you're spread over more than 20 square feet, you didn't do it
RULE THREE: Accommodate your guests' schedules.
Most of your expected visitors are busy people with lives of their own
(unless you take them with you), so schedule your demise and services to
coincide with their off time. Avoid having services over the holidays, and
try to schedule viewing hours (if possible) that don't conflict with prime
time TV (especially during sweeps weeks), football, or bowling league
RULE FOUR: Send Invitations!
Not everyone likes a surprise. Advance notice will provide guests the
opportunity to ask for the mourning off. Notification for affairs such as
yours have traditionally been by phone or word of mouth, but since you know
when and where, why not send invites? Aside from providing guests with the
place and time, you can also request financial assistance to offset expenses
(think services upgrades), and prompt recipients to call your answering
machine or voice mail for directions. Heck, if you're clever, you could even
generate a ton of extra cash with your own 1-900 pay-per-call phone number.
At just $3.99/minute, you could have the casket you always wanted!
To save time and money, think about mailing off your invitation as a
chain letter. Keep in mind that your wake and funeral may not be your
guest's most exciting entertainment option, so take the time to make your
invitations elegant and creative, and be sure to mail them out in plenty of
time (but not too early).
RULE FIVE: Let guests choose their meals.
Enclose RSVP's with your invites to plan your wake catering (meat or
fish?) return-addressed to the caterer. This way, guests won't have to
bicker over the food. You may also include a vegetarian plate option.
RULE SIX: Prepare thank-you cards.
Pre-print a box of thank-you notes for your next of kin to forward for you.
Pre-addressing and stamping the envelopes will be greatly appreciated by
RULE SEVEN: Do a little something for
Consider mailing a stack of self-addressed sympathy cards to your own
address to make it appear that you were more popular! If you want a bit more
Press Coverage (covered later), sign famous names.
RULE EIGHT: Record a new phone or voice mail message.
Change the message on your machine (or voice mail) just before you go
(but not too much before) since you won't be there anymore (with any luck).
People may be tired of your old message anyway.
In your new pre-recorded message you can give friends and relatives
directions to your wake and funeral, information about where they might find
you (if you kept that quiet), and, of course, all the gory details. If you
have the cash, make the call toll-free. If you're short on funds, consider
RULE EIGHT (a): Send a group email.
If you really have it all together, send a group email (but if you do, you
really have to hurry right after you click send). Otherwise, same idea as
Rule Eight. Also, be sure you have everyone's correct email address. Spam
can cause your service provider to cancel your account.
RULE NINE: Shut off most utilities,
cancel unnecessary services.
Before you go, be sure to discontinue your newspaper service, shut off
your gas service (unless your method requires gas), cancel the lawn service
and cable. BE SURE to pay the phone and electric one month in advance (to
keep your phone, answering machine and/or voice mail working - see Rule
RULE TEN: Pets
Let your pets out (unless they're coming with). If you have fish or birds,
leave plenty of food. Hamsters and Guinea Pigs can probably be set free.
Same with Turtles. Snakes can usually be flushed just prior.
RULE ELEVEN: Let others know who you
BRING ALONG ID. Can't stress this enough. So many people forget this one,
which is critical to receiving credit for your act. It's ludicrous to think
that you could go through all this trouble and not even be identified after.
Make sure your ID is capable of surviving your technique. A normal Driver's
License probably won't make it or be readable. Your wallet may be blown to
shreds (depending on technique). Dog tags are most often your best bet.
RULE TWELVE: Send out your own legal
If you really want to make an impressive and well-thought-out exit, fill out
your own Death Certificate. The forms are easy to get, filling them out
yourself makes for a great finishing touch - plus, by doing it
yourself, you can be assured that the form is filled out properly,
your name is spelled correctly, and the cause of death is 100% accurate (not
some coroner's best guess).
Mail your Death Certificate to the
coroners' office just before you go (not a moment sooner), but leave the
exact time and date blank (just in case).
Now that we're on a roll - see Fun 'Event' Invitations