Obituaries tend to be boring reads, but it doesn’t have to be that way. For example, newspapers could at least print how the person died and maybe quote any witnesses just like they do in other news stories. If a person died while eating, they could even post the recipe, thereby drawing readers from the Lifestyle section of the newspaper.
Given that we can’t change the Press, we can change how our deaths get reported by making them more interesting. I, for one, plan to go out with a bang. Special thanks to my friend Bill for helping me to plan the staging of my death scene. While my exact plans are confidential, I can share some ideas to help others have a more interesting obituary.
Dress for the Event
We obviously don’t know the exact moment when each of us will die, but we can do some advance planning and it’s never too early for this. For example, you could have a “death suit” hanging in your closet. Give your loved ones explicit instructions on how to dress you before the coroner arrives. Your death is much more likely to make the front page if you’re wearing a clown nose, a white satin disco suit with a chain mail vest, and loafers with a cryptic message written on tape and attached to the soles. “I’m not really dead” is an example of a good cryptic message. “Elvis is alive and murdered me” or “I really hope I don’t die tonight and get caught dead in this outfit” are other examples. Be creative. You only get one chance to make a statement that will baffle the world.
Next, find a few good props. Avoid anything to do with drugs or alcohol, since that’s already common enough. You want props that make the reporters think “Who was this fascinating person?” For example, stab a melon with a few knitting needles, write “Bucky” on it with a Sharpie, and make sure that the melon is carefully cradled in your arms like a baby (assuming you still have arms).
As you can see, planning is the key to this process. In cases where you can’t assemble the props in advance, leave explicit instructions and diagrams. If it’s really important to you to get everything right, then have a few dress rehearsals and give pointers to your accomplices so that everything is perfect when you pass away. If you like to write, you might want to also leave behind some suggested headlines.
Protect The Ones You Love
Finally, make sure that your wishes are written down somewhere so that your loved ones aren’t prosecuted for tampering with your corpse. Unless that is part of your “going out with a bang” plan.