Sunday, January 29, 2006

I love you John. Despite which.

It really, really bothers me that John Cleese expects to be paid 50$ to join his 'official' fansite. I'm glad he got a lemur named after him. I freely admit he's a genius. I've been true-blue to my Johnnie since 1973. Still, one draws the line somewhere and I draw it at being dog-hosed by a man old enough to be my grandfather. Christ Almighty, John. It's not like you're paying British taxes anymore. Yeah, it supports research of some kind. Fine. I still think you ought to be paying us. We're the reason you're John Cleese.

Still, I regret not having realized earlier in life that he was straight. To the tune of 'I wish he'd fathered my children' and I mean that SINCERELY. I mean look at him. Not only is he a genius, he was fine. He had a smokin' ass too. Hell, maybe he still does.

And pay the devil his due; he gave Graham Chapman the best eulogy in the history of public speaking. I always say, a funeral isn't really quite complete unless at least half the crowd is given cause to gasp in horror during the eulogy. It was brilliant. It was inspired. It was breathtaking. It was perfect. Cleese may well be a dick in some ways, but he has more raw class than Lee Marvin standing on top of a pile of burning Harleys drinking whiskey out of a dirty glass.

I'm a girl who knows her eulogies. When I was a kid, my family were the caretakers of the pioneer graveyard in our town, so we saw a lot of funerals and heard a lot of graveside oration. The other reason why is my parents were quite a bit older themselves, and water seeking its own level resulted in their pool of acquaintance being on the elderly side. I went to a lot of funerals. I became something of a connoisseur.

There were funerals where people wept, screamed and fainted-those were the best by far. Of course these were not Catholic funerals...Catholics, at least white ones, have no public emotions.*

There were funerals where you hoped someone was standing by with spare coffins, because the deceased looked healthier than the mourners did. And back then everyone went to a funeral-whether you wanted to or not, apparently. Some funerals would empty out the old folks' homes for miles around. I don't think the staff worried too much about what the patients thoughts on the matter were, though, because lots of their charges were barely registering beyond the next bowl of oatmeal. Can you imagine being so old you're translucent? And bedridden? And being wheeled in to a funeral home on a gurney for the love of God? What do you imagine was going through these poor old peoples' heads?

There were services performed under the auspices of fraternal orders, and these were just strange for a little kid. Grown men I normally saw in overalls walk in dressed for HMS Pinafore, wearing pirate hats and carrying sabers. (this must have been K of C).
My grandfathers' lodge (IOOF) really sent him off in style. There was marching, speeches, singing, ceremonial maces, silk flags; and every bit of it in Finnish. They laid two real swords on his coffin when the floor show was over. Oh, I wanted those swords bad. One of my weird boy-cousins and I were discussing the matter of how to obtain them when his father told him they were going to be buried with Gramps. Boy Cousin threw one of his patented Boy Cousin Screaming Goddamn Cows. In fact he actually tried to sneak back into the funeral to steal them.
They had to take Cuz home.
I didn't put him up to it.

But it was always a good show. I don't mean to sound harsh. You have to bear in mind that most of these poor people were 240 years old and had spent years warehoused away in some grim , piss-soaked care facility (This was the 1960's in rural Oregon. Regulations were unknown and inspectors non-existant.) You met these poor souls once- which at eight years of age meant standing next to a hospital bed amongst the chugging, beeping machines, on a level only suited to observing the solemn march of thick fluids draining down into various plastic bags...or blatting intermittently into buckets. (Remember what I said about it being the 1960's in rural Oregon? yeah. It was that grim.) The next time you met them they were in their best suit of clothes resting on billows of white satin.

Funeral parlours in those times were big on Utah-sized sprays of gladioli. I recall sitting in the front row during my uncles' service and only being able to see his nose heroically jutting above all the floral arrangements. I looked at that nose for the entire service completely mesmerized. A dead nose! A dead nose!

I've heard a lot of eulogies. Some of them were in English. Some were very good, and some were about very good people. Not one could hope to compete in the same arena as the one John Cleese gave his best writing partner. Not one. Check it out on YouTube if you don't believe me. One minute everyone in the place is drawing in a collective gasp of horror, just outraged, shocked to their foundations - and in the next instant they're laughing hysterically.

It takes a lot to make people at a funeral laugh, It takes a fucking GOD to make them crack up so hard they fall out of the folding chairs and spit their teeth out.

yeah, I know, here I've just slagged Cleese all to hell, so there's no chance of him doing my eulogy now. Because he's going to be around, you know. He's going to live forever.

*I was baptised Catholic so I can say whatever I want; so THERE.

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