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My First Ever List of Funeral No, No's

Updated on March 3, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth has been a member of HubPages for five years. He is retired from a 23-year career in the weekly newspaper business.

Saddest of scenes in life.
Saddest of scenes in life. | Source

I am not Going

to kid you, josh you, or even prank you about today's topic: Funerals. There is for me, no room for such literary horseplay concerning such a sad event--probably the saddest event in a human being's life. I will not make any hilarious one-liners or create a comical monologue about funerals for there is none that fits. In short, funerals are like I said, sad. Also heart-breaking, spirit crushing, depressing, and an event although necessary in life, is one we all want to forget.

I hope that I have not offended anyone. The previous paragraph is simply a short collection of my thoughts concerning funerals. Never in my life have I heard this from anyone, "Hey, Ken! I attended "old Jim Barlow's" funeral and man, what a great time I had!" Never. And if I were to hear such a statement of hogwash, I would cringe, then ask, "are you nuts?" to the speaker.

John Knox preaching at funeral.
John Knox preaching at funeral. | Source

I Have Never Found

(a) central book or document that is accepted for "Rules and Regulations for Guests at Funerals." The only rules I know are those my parents handed down to me when attending the funeral of a good friend or family member--and my parents' voices were not filled with lilt either. I heard mom and dad say a whole lot of "I had better not's" and "you had best not," and then I was let in on the consequences which you might guess were not delightful.

But over the 63 years I have lived I have thought long and hard about what if "I" were to publish a set of my own rules and regulations for funeral guests? Would that be so bad? At this point, I cannot turn back on this piece, so here we go with . . ."My First Ever List of Funeral No, No's."

(now take heed. Some of the below regulations are sensitive, so if you are going to read them to your children or grandchilden, be ready to explain them. Kenneth).

Short List of Other Things to Take Care of Before a Funeral

  • Personal hygiene: take a good, long shower. No one wants to inhale the nauseating body odors you are emitting from just coming from a deer hunt--having deer urine on your clothes to say nothing about your not have a shower for four days.
  • Smelly shoes: see above explanation. No one wants to smell your shoes with an insole you have not changed in six months.
  • Bad breath: yes, I know that this is a funeral, not a speed dating service. Still, fresh breath is always appreciated.
  • Dandruff: on your suit coat will look like you just walked inside out of sudden snow flurries. Check that coat before you are seated.
  • Clean teeth: are also a plus. If you have just finished with a hefty meal with leafy veggies, there is a good chance that a slither of lettuce may just be lodged in your front teeth. Brush!
  • Fly check: yes, that old man's curse of making sure that your zipper is zipped. If you show up at a funeral with an open fly, the talk will fly saying that you showed up drunk.

I just thought that I would add these helpful tips to you if you are about to attend a funeral. I know. I have attended a few funerals in my life and did see a few uneducated souls actually commit some of these ill-mannered transgressions.

Actor, Keanu Reeves, not Kenneth Avery.
Actor, Keanu Reeves, not Kenneth Avery. | Source
  • Bodily gasses, yes, that certain bodily function named flatulence (the accumulation of gas in the alimentary canal) is not a welcomed guest at any funeral. But most funerals come equipped with families and friends who bring loads of food in order for the grieving family not to be burdened to cook for everyone. Most guys even at funerals love food. Some more than others. And if you are one of these guys who love to eat spicy foods, onions, cabbage, make sure that there is no gas in your system before you sit down at a funeral for I tell you this: If you are forced to get up to head to the men's room, you will be looked at and talked about. So rid yourself of that annoying gas and you will thank me later.
  • Chewing gum at a funeral is fine if you chew the gum quietly. But do not fill your mouth with bubble gum and out of habit, blow those Hindenburg-size bubbles that pop so loud when deflated, will cause mourners to believe that someone has a firearm shooting people at random. Please leave your bubble gum at home. This is for adults and adults with bubble gum-loving children.
  • Belching, burping openly at funerals are frowned upon by any funeral director or guest. Anyone who deliberately belches or burps so loudly that those sitting in the back of the chapel can hear them should be escorted out as soon as possible. Besides a deliberate burper will instantly get himself a bad name given him by the grieving family and friends.
  • Whispering to friends in the row ahead of you is not acceptable. Why can't you just wait until this service has concluded? Is what you are whispering about a matter of life or death? Will the world explode if you do not share that you and your girlfriend have broken up for her being so close-minded about you having another girlfriend who does like mud wrestling?
  • Nodding off while a preacher or two give touching eulogies about the deceased can be looked upon as very disrespectful. Sure, any preacher will understand if you are a family member who drove straight though from 1200 miles away non-stop and no sleep, but you are not this person. You are going to have to watch yourself when you feel "the sandman" sneaking around your eyelids.
  • Bringing a small pet like a toy poodle or kitten with you to a funeral is not recommended. Animals unless trained, are going to bark or meow and all at the wrong time. Guess what? Your pet is not going to get the blame. You are. Now find a kennel for your pet before you attend any funeral.
  • Television, video watching on cell phones during a funeral is totally-shameful. "Touchdown, Green Bay!" is not what a grieving family or preacher wants to hear. Sure you love The Packers and Aaron Rodgers, but at a funeral? I cannot help it if The Pack are in a play-off game. There is time to see the end of this game for I can tell you that no college or pro football game is over until three and a half hours are up.
  • Cracking your knuckles, fingers in the quiet atmosphere of a funeral home chapel during a funeral service is not only disrespectful, but just asking for angry frowns and glares. So if you do not mind, get your knuckles and fingers all cracked before you enter a funeral home chapel or church where family and friends are mourning the demise of a loved one.
  • Yawning widely and openly is not that bad, but still it should be muffled as much as possible. And I will play "devil's advocate" here by saying that the preacher(s) holding the service who are upset at your humanity of yawning thinking it is a personal attack on the material that they are using, is being the victim of vanity, one of satan's favorite tools. (e.g. "Devil's Advocate" film, Keanu Reeves).
  • Squirming in your chapel seat can cause unwanted noises and you do not want people to scowl at you do you? No. Just suck it up and so what if that wooden folding chair has a long splinter sticking into your butt? You are a rough and ready guy who can take it. Do not squirm and whine like a little girl. The deceased and their family will appreciate your martyrdom.
  • Picking teeth during a funeral is not an abomination, but it gives the image of one who does not show his or her respect to the survivors of the deceased. Please. I beg you. Pick your teeth before you are seated at any funeral.
  • Cleaning false teeth is not acceptable at a funeral. If cleaning your false teeth during a funeral is the only time you have to do this chore, it appears to me that you in need of someone who can design a time schedule for you to go by so you will not be an embarrassment to others or be embarrassed at a funeral when you clean your false teeth.
  • Tossing breath mints, gums to other mourners while a funeral is going on is not only rude, but a distraction for the preacher(s) holding the service and mourners who witness your undisciplined toss. And they will also know now why you were not on the high school baseball team.
  • The telling of and laughing at vulgar jokes are not for funerals. I have been in attendance at funerals when I was younger and have heard grown men (sometimes women) burst out laughing at something while the singers are singing and talk about stern looks. The people that gave in to their weakness surely got roasted by the people's eyes who were glaring at them.
  • Twirking, The Worm, and other such social dances are probably the worst thing one can do at a funeral. These physical displays although vulgar and built from disrespect, do not rate as low on the "My First Ever List of Funeral No, No's" as standing up in mid-eulogy and start impersonating Frank Sinatra singing, "My Way."

My intentions for publishing this hub were pure. I did not want you to attend a funeral and be guilty of any of these ill-mannered human reactions.

Good night, Fulton, Mississippi.

Another sad place.
Another sad place. | Source

© 2017 Kenneth Avery


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      19 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Courtney,

      You are absolutely right--and being that my ancestry goes back to Ireland, I just might, (thanks to YOU) write a sequel to this hub about "how" to be the life of the party at a funeral.

      That one is sure to draw lots of curious readers, aye?

      God bless you for the comments.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      19 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dearest Sakina :)

      Thank you, sweet friend, for your comment on this self-help hub with the FREE advice.

      Going to funerals to respect the deceased and living is fine, but how you do both is crucial.


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      19 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Thank you, MFB III,

      for your sweet comment. I am very happy that you are not going to any funerals after feasting at Taco Bell.

      That would be very wise.

      Thanks again.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      19 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Nice comment. Interesting. Thank you so much.

    • MFB III profile image

      MFB III 

      20 months ago from United States

      Loved it, I will go to no mre funerals after a taco buffet feast or in old nikes that smell like dead herring, I already picked my teethtwo years ago and they look great for dentures, and anyone who teewts at a funeral should get an answer from the deceased in the tone of: "How rude can you be?" LOL

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 

      20 months ago from Kuwait

      This is a very serious and sad topic. Your tips and thoughts are really written very well. This is very helpful. Great job with this Kenneth, my dear buddy. :)

    • profile image

      Courtney Schumacher 

      20 months ago from Rochester, NY

      If it's an Irish Wake, you certainly COULD be the life of the party, unless you're the dead guy (host).

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      20 months ago from Washington DC

      Well, Brother Kenneth, those "No, No's" are for funeral attenders, not for me. In my memory, I've only attended 2 funerals of my own accord, the rest, and few they were, I was forced to attend against my will. I'm not intending to make little of funerals but I don't see any purpose for them, and since you wrote about them I feel the need to voice my opinion.

      Maybe I'm an early born "Indigo Child" who have always thought differently and "outside of the box" than most people especially concerning death. (I first voiced my opinion of reincarnation somewhere between the age of 8 and 12 years old so I don't remember ever grieving over the dead and see no reason for funerals.)

      Since I was, so to speak, "conceived in church" I don't remember how old I was when I heard Yeshua the messiah's "let the dead bury their dead" (Matthew 8:22) recited. Although then I didn't know it means "let those who are mentally dead bury the physically dead" I always thought it strange that man would pay such elaborate sums of money to dispose of a body when I know of no living life that made such an issue over an uninhabited body.

      Observing other animals' reaction to their dead, except for some few pet dogs' puppies being killed accidentally, I've always noticed they take dying with little concern, so why not man. Funerals have never made sense to me and I have never found a rational for them. All attempts to explain them to me left me more confused than enlightened so I've stopped asking and just do not attend them, not my mother's, daddy's nor namesake son's. I look at their dying like I do those of flies, rodents, and others so-called pests, another life has ended.



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