A Piece of Advice a1
PART A - Thursday, May 6, 2010
I am getting ready to publish my first book and it is my hope that those poor, misused friends of mine here on Hubpages will have the strength to comment on the book cover.
Please be assured that I shall not be offended if you are already fed up with me. I do not blame you one bit! ;-)
A Piece of Advice
By Dimitris MITA De Greek
The gravedigger was crying. Sam could see him standing behind the chubby priest with the big front teeth, one massive filthy hand held in front of his eyes, his tears fat and clear spilling between his fingers and carving a valley in the dirt that had built up on them.
It seemed inconceivable that gravediggers could have a sensitive side to them. He thought that perhaps it was the unusual eulogy read out at the church earlier that had managed to touch the heart of a gravelly gravedigger, as it was probably the only eulogy in Christendom that had been written by the deceased himself, prior to his death of course. Sam had been forced to read the words of a teasing, articulate, dead father, a father who liked to play with words and who had made it difficult for a son to keep a straight face while reading a dead man’s mocking gems of supposed wisdom. With trembling hands he had unfolded the prepared text and had started reading the thoughts of the dead man to a silent audience. It was headed:
"A EULOGY BY THE DECEASED
As the honored person here today, I feel that it is appropriate to say a few words. It is surprising that even a dead person finds a captive audience irresistible.
First of all, I should like to thank you all for coming. Both of you. Those of you who do not understand this joke, may stay behind after the funeral and my son, who should be reading this, will explain it to you.
I also want to take this excellent opportunity to do a bit of advertising. Please note the splendid coffin, which is one of our own productions. As most of you know, besides investing in shipping, I have also invested in a joinery business and since we have all the necessary machinery we thought of adding coffins as a new product to supplement our income. Just in time as it turned out. Have you seen the prices of these things recently? Those of you who were generous enough to send flowers will have presumably attached cards to them, so we shall shortly send you more information on this very useful and very attractive product. (Naturally, when I say “we”, I use the term loosely). A special discount shall be made to the names on all the cards, in acknowledgement and reciprocity of friendship, but no credit facilities will apply.
Incidentally, should there be a large “D” in evidence anywhere near the coffin, please ignore it. It would be the result of excessive zeal by our employees, who sometimes go a little overboard in implementing ISO requirements. “D” stands for DEAD. Just in case some of you are absent minded and haven’t noticed the corpse.
No doubt the spectacle of a friend or relative being made ready for planting must create a feeling of finality which can never be an agreeable one. For consolation, though, think of the pleasure this event will give to at least one person, my ex-wife, who has for years been waiting to dance on my grave. In fairness to her though, I must admit that she showed generosity by leaving my grave out of the long list of my assets for which she filed for partial ownership during the divorce proceedings. No doubt the time shall come when she will regret the omission.
A word of advice to those of my aging friends who might feel obligated to give a helping hand in carrying the coffin to the hearse: DON’T! - I seem to have added a few kilos of late to an already impressive figure and the effort may be such as to create a rush of business for our worthy funeral director, which may overwhelm the poor man’s ability to cope. Please resist the temptation and let the younger men do the job. It will give them something to do and might even prevent them from yawning.
Now that the introduction is suitably out of the way, I believe that it is customary to say a few words about the departed, ideally complimentary. Well, I can tell you that through most of my adult life I have studiously avoided being fired, through the simple expedient of becoming the President of various companies. Since it was somewhat unlikely that I would fire myself, I became quite adept at holding down those jobs. The occasional clanger I made, I faced with humane understanding and leniency and only the unsporting and unreasonable point of view of the Department of Income Tax occasionally put a spanner in the works.
Without wishing to bore, I feel the need to pass on a few words of wisdom to those of you who are still awake and listening, wisdom acquired as a businessman and as a father. The Lords Tennyson and Byron might have found a different way of dispersing these pearls of wisdom, but the advantage of being dead is that one may risk a touch of eccentricity.
As a businessman, I have had personal experiences which led me to the conclusion that ‘someone may look a gift horse in the mouth out of habit. But if the gift horse is the odds-on favorite to win the next Derby, then that someone can’t afford the stable fees’. Think about this for a while.
As a father I have at last learned that ‘the result of punishment on men and animals is the increase of fear, the promotion of cunning and the control of desires. Punishment tames a man, but does not make him better’. This is not one of my own gems, but belongs to a fellow philosopher by the name of Nietzsche and the fact that he died of syphilis should in no way detract from the wisdom of his position.
I think that I had better terminate this discourse now, or I may risk being frivolous. Enjoy the rest of the proceedings."
Having read the piece Sam had put the paper in his pocket and had walked off the church podium with shoulders slumped and lips trembling in silent grief for his father, with only pride forcing him to keep an impassive face, though at times it was a tossup between tears or a smile.
He had not as yet properly digested the fact that he was now the only heir to a multi-million dollar shipping empire. Perhaps because he had always taken it for granted that it was his birth right. He was the spoilt son of a rich man and he had been used to every comfort, but had somehow managed to avoid becoming too obnoxious.
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