Monday, September 28, 2009

Death and the News

I spent the first half hour of my day trying to find a body!

When someone rings up to put a death notice in the paper, we can't publish it until a funeral director has confirmed that they have the body, so that people don't go all April Fools-y on the deaths column.

Usually the family give the death notice to the f.d. and they give it to us, but sometimes things get complex, and the brother of the corpse deceased calls and admits that although they wish to place a notice, they have no idea where the body is. You would think it would be the kind of thing you write down, where you left your brother's body. ("Oh fuck! It's at the train station!") "Never mind," I said to the newly made only child, "I can sort that out for you." Then I called all the f.d.'s in town.

"Hi! It's Ally at the paper, have you got Mr Summers?"
"No, sorry. Try CC."

"Hi! It's Ally from the paper. Have you got Mr Summers? I need to do a death notice, but I can't find him."
"Try JR."

"Hi, this is Ally from the paper Is Mr Summers with you? I've been looking for him all morning."
"Can't help, sorry. Have you tried Dignity?"

"Hi, it's Ally at the paper, I'm trying to find Mr Summers. Is he, um, one of your..." Pause, because there is no appropriate way to end this sentence. "...customers?"
"No, sorry. Try Bell Lamb & Trotter."

Bell Lamb & Trotter, which was harbouring Mr S all along, is a ridiculous name for a funeral director. You'd think that Mr Trotter at least would have suggested a more sensible name. f.d's are meant to convey a sense of dignity, not make you think about lunch. Mmm. BLT. I would sit through the funeral thinking about a) bacon and b) what a ridiculous word Trotter is and c) what are the chances of all these wannabe funeral directors having surnames which are also proper nouns? It could have been worse, I guess. "Who's doing the funeral?" "Riblet Flange & Bean." ("Bottomley Hooter & White" would also be pretty bad.)

Also on the death notice front, I had one faxed through this afternoon from a Nelson f.d. and, after the 'beloved husband/father/grandad etc.' part they'd requested a little line in italics. This is pretty common, and is usually something along the lines of Rest in Peace or Gone to Grow in God's Garden or John has gone but his pubes are still on the soap or whatever.

This one read, He will be "Sadly Missed." I love it. As Andrea said, pretty sure they're going to "Dance on his Grave."

In the real news today, there were two good stories. The first one was about how the small Canterbury town of Springfield had had its promotional Simpsons donut BURNT by a naughty arsonist, on the very eve of the day that said donut was going to get a resource consent so it could watch over the town forever! Said a town councillor, "Someone's buggered the donut." I'm not making this up, it was in the paper. Personally I think "DONUT BUGGERED" would have been a good headline.

The second good story, depending on your definition of good, was that on some recent ceremonial occasion the Pope was trotted out* and a spider got on him. The headline was "Pope bugged by spider" or something but I think "SPIDER ON POPE" would've been better as a) it's more exciting and to-the-point and b) it has no horrible pun and c) spiders aren't technically bugs anyway** and d) the Pope didn't seem particularly bugged, as he let the spider crawl up his wrinkly old neck, ascend the side of his holy face, and then casually saunter off the end of his sleeve...presumably it was not a Jewish spider! *rimshot*

*'trotted' is also a weird word

**I think?


a cat of impossible colour said...

Tee hee!

Holly said...

But what if you WERE the funeral director? THEN you'd be capable of all kinds of April Foolsy Fun! :D

Is it bad that the first sentence that came to mind when I read your "there is no appropriate way to end this" comment was "purchases"!? Even worse than customers! They didn't BUY him! o.O

aleph_naught said...

Spiders are bugs, but not insects. Bugs is kinda a catchall for creepy crawlies. I think.

a cat of impossible colour said...

Where is this fabled question-answering post?? YOU PROMISED. It's just like the time you promised to take me to the zoo.

Tennyson ee Hemingway said...

I would think that POPE BUGGERED BY SPIDER would be much more appropriate. And ecclesiastical.