You can’t spell funeral without fun!
A friend of mine suggested a side gig after a roommate came up short on rent. I had an idea to get something fun to do instead of the usual soul crushing low-pay bore fest that permeates the current want ads. Something where I could be entertained as well as compensated.
The previously stated friend had watched the fine movie Wedding Crashers. After looking into if there were such jobs as a professional wedding crasher (there weren’t), he noticed a posting for paid funeral attendees.
When a funeral service has little to no attendance, a service can provide paid mourners to go to a funeral, speak well of the deceased to friends or family and to be respectful at the service.
Going to funerals wasn’t something that I ever did.
If someone that I knew died, I’d usually say I was going, but then back out just before. When a pet died, I wouldn’t even go to that. I’d usually just get buzzed and avoid the whole thing.
But the allure of getting paid changed my perspective. I just had to get semi-dressed up and spend some time getting to know some new people? Sign me up!
The problem turned out to be an attention issue. It was boring to just sit there service after service, listening to the same old themes over and over.
A tired bromide repeated ad nauseam in a mausoleum wasn’t something to look forward to. It took the fun out of traveling across town to a church or home, even if the buffet was exemplary.
That all changed one afternoon when I was asked to be a pallbearer.
The service was a worse than usual fatigue fiesta. The departed was some ruthless financier that didn’t have any friends or family in attendance. There were only a couple of men that respected him as a competitor.
A picture of him was next to the casket. He was snarling in the photo and looked like whatever the photographer said made him gastronomically disagreeable. This guy wasn’t friendly.
There were only four of us to lift the casket. As I lifted my corner, it sounded like something in the coffin shifted. One guy snickered and then said,
“What if he isn’t dead?”
To which another guy said,
“Holy shit. Zombie movies start like this.”
We all started giggling.
That gave me an idea.
Why do funerals have to be so somber? They say it’s a celebration of life, so how about the living celebrating? Not everyone at a service is there to be glum. Is everyone at a wedding getting married? No. It was time to change my approach.
I started drinking beer about an hour before a service just to loosen up. Chances are I wouldn’t see these people again. Why not leave an impression? Most of these things are forgotten as soon as they end. It became my job to make it memorable.
Dressing up like a clown was one of the first ideas. I’d call him Depresso. But it sounded like a lot of work. Plus, I wanted to do this covertly. The same schtick would apply, a flower boutonniere that squirted water, balloon animals, but I’d look like a normal mourner.
I even trademarked the Funeral Kazoo. Nothing would liven up the proceedings like a kazoo playing Taps or Freebird. Sure, there might be some that would get offended, but the attendees that would appreciate the break with grief would outnumber them, I thought.
Another pleasant touch is playing a slide whistle while the casket is being lowered into the ground. I’d save some cash and get a trombone later on.
The accordion lessons that they forced me to take as a kid would finally have some use and would pay off. Take that, you jackasses that made fun of me and said it was a waste of time. All that football and baseball playing you did also never paid off. Burn!
When anyone questioned me about how I knew the deceased, I told them I was cousin Dean from the father’s side. If that was questioned, I’d say I was Aunt Sally’s son, Dean. As long as I didn’t ask any family members for a loan, they tended not to care about who I was. I learned that the hard way.
I also learned not to go to after parties or wakes.
The food was great, and everyone seemed to be nice. But, at most of them, there is an uncle that demands that you drink whatever he offers you. If you don’t, some family members get suspicious.
That adds up real quick. It ends up with you waking up in unfamiliar surroundings, like a strange house or a car wearing yours or someone else’s clothes.
I have now been able to quit my regular job and travel. My new business is thriving and I’ve made some great contacts and even do some fund raising.
Of course, since I’ve been semi-successful, competition has caught up to my scheme. There’s now a guy that calls himself Depresso the Clown and is moving in on my action.
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