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Monday, February 27, 2012

What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?

I've had a horror of being buried alive ever since I saw the movie Spoorloos twenty years ago. (There was a horrible American remake called The Vanishing, but I'm not sure if they both had the same creepy ending.) Stories like Poe's The Cask of Amontillado and The Fall of the House of Usher don't help at all. I've always figured that it would safest if my remains were immediately reduced to a small pile of ashes and then put somewhere discrete. Last week, I stumbled across Thesaurus of Epigrams, which contains some hilarious epigrams. I'm thinking that it might be possible to change my mind about burial now, but only if I have the perfect tombstone inscription. Here are some of my favorites the book had to offer:

Erected to the memory of
John Phillips
Accidently shot,
As a mark of affection by his Brother.
Here lies the body of Jonathan Ground,
Who was lost at sea and never found.
Here lies the carcass of a cursed sinner
Doomed to be roasted for the Devil's dinner.
Here I lies, and no wonder I'm dead,
For the wheel of a wagon went over my head.
Here lies my wife, a sad slattern and a shrew,
If I said I regretted her I should lie too.
Here lies my poor wife, without bed or blanket,
But dead as a door-nail, and God be thankit.
Here lies Pierre Cabochard, grocer.
His inconsolate widow
dedicates this monument to his memory,
and continues the same business at
the old stand, 167 Rue Mouffetard.
Here lies the body of W. W.,
Who never more will trouble you, trouble you.

I like the idea of someone walking past my grave, glancing at my inscription, and howling hysterically. If I can't come up with one of these witty epigrams, do you think a well-worded knock-knock joke would have the same effect?

Fuller, Edmund, ed. Thesaurus of Epigrams. New York, NY: Crown Publishers, 1943. Print.

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