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I Hate Funerals

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The room is stuffy. Artificial lights are hurting everyone's eyes. There's an unmistakable stench in the air.

I was never a fan of funerals. But open casket ceremonies are even worse. Probably everyone is aware of the grim circumstances of the event, and I'm almost sure that most of them - maybe unwillingly - but imagined the iron bar piercing through their relative's spine on that fateful night. But similarly to the elegant funeral suit and makeup hiding the disgusting lethal injuries, our social norms are covering the true thoughts of the grieving folks. Although, looking at all those who sit around the casket, I can say, without boasting, that I'm the best at keeping a sorrowful, but dignified face.

There's this aunt, sobbing in the front row, who obviously believes that this whole thing is a competition: the bigger the tears, the more we loved the deceased. Not like crying has to do anything with the stinking corpse over there, it's just for proving our dominance: "I'm the most sensitive here, therefore I'm better than you all."

Right next to her, keeping a great contrast, the twins: they are about eleven or twelve. I've seen them once or twice in my life, but it's quite easy to read their faces: they'd rather be home in the company of their gaming console. I can't blame them.

One row behind a distant relative, who shows up on more and more funerals nowadays, as he figured it out that they are usually followed by a free dinner. Here's a handshake with the widow, there's a bourbon ball, a "sincere condolences", a ham roll, a happy anecdote about the deceased, a slice of pie, and so on...

But my favorites are the two cousins sitting next to each other in an even more awkward silence. A he and a she, who - after a few drinks - give each other a bit more than your usual brotherly kiss... I don't know who made the seating plan, but he is either really clueless, or has a twisted sense of humor. If it's the latter, I might not hate everyone in the family. As I don't have anything better to do, I try to understand the point of the whole thing. It's clear, that it's not about that lifeless thing in the coffin. Looking at the body, no one's thinking about the person he once was, but what that person used to think about them. From their own point of view, of course, thus they lose their objectivity. Basically, grievers create an imaginary friend, based on the departed, and ask it to fill some space. Not for him, but for them. Or maybe they fantasize about ham rolls.

And here am I. Sitting in the stuffy room, the artificial light hurts my eyes. I keep breathing in that unmistakable stench.

And on top of it all, that goddamn iron bar keeps pushing my spine.

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