Friday, January 20, 2006

Your Father's Mustache Day!

You've been to open-casket funerals before and you know that the body never looks quite "right," but today when you kneel beside your father's casket to pray you'll be aware that something is very wrong. It will be as if his eye color had changed (if his eyes were open). When you finally nail it you'll let out a little yelp from the surprise that you didn't catch it sooner.

"I hated that thing," your stepmother will say when you drag her into the antechamber of the funeral home. "So shaggy and unkempt. Like an old pair of corduroy pants."

"My father was like an old pair of corduroy pants," you'll argue. Your voice will be louder than you'd intended, but you'll run with it. Maybe today's the day to have it out with the icy little interior designer your Dad was too lonely not to marry.

"Whether he was or not, there was no reason to hang a pair of corduroy pants from under his nose," she'll say. "I could never get him to shave it while he was alive, no matter how I'd harangued him. Honestly, he's probably watching this from someplace today and he's laughing over how I finally got him to shave the thing."

Your father's mustache was fat and gray and full of dandruff flakes. It was on his face for over thirty years. It was not hers to discard. Go get a disposable camera and take some photos of his face.

"I'm bringing these to the law office when we settle the estate," tell your stepmother. "If there are any terms to contest in that will, these photos might influence the proceedings."

Your stepmother will grow very smug. "Oh, I think you'll find the terms of that will are very clear."

Everyone on line to pay their respects will watch you snap your camera over and over again like a crime scene photographer. Ignore them. You're the daughter of the deceased and you can do whatever you want at the deceased's funeral. This is an advantage you have over your stepmother, who will grab the camera away from your face before too long.

"I am taking photographs of my father," tell her. "Please let me continue."

Your stepmother will tell you that your photos won't do any good and all you're doing is making a scene.

"Did he amend the will?" you'll ask without pausing your picture-taking.

Your stepmother will grab at the camera again. You'll turn around and scream, "Did he amend the fucking will?!"

Your stepmother will nod. That's it. You wanted the house, your mother's house, but she's getting it.

"She's your princess," you'll tell your father. Toss the camera into his coffin and walk out of the funeral home. You're the daughter of the deceased and you can play any game you want, but you're still going to walk away emptyhanded.

Happy Your Father's Mustache Day!