Why Gallows Humour Will Keep Me Alive Until 98

The other day I saw a tramway decorated with Christmas lights, a Christmas wreath and a big bow in front. Just driving around, content as you please, with some people on board who seemed to be having themselves a glorious time. And the first thing that popped into my mind was, I want that for my funeral. Party train! All the way to the cemetery! Put a table cloth on my coffin and use it as a buffet table! Beat that for a wake!

My former therapist would remind me that planning elaborate funerals for myself is neither normal nor conducive to my mental health. I have another theory about my funeral obsession: If I plan it in a way that makes me sorry I’m going to miss it – you know, by being all dead and stuff – this will convince my jerkbrain to stay alive through sheer stubborn bloodymindedness. I see my therapist wagging his finger at me as the train goes past, but what does he know?

Anyway, it’s almost midnight, I went to bed two hours ago in a heroic attempt to get a decent night’s sleep because I have an important presentation tomorrow, and here I am, wide-eyed as a marigold. Oh, who cares about presentations? Who cares if I look like an extra from The Walking Dead and sound like one, too? It’s my own stupid fault anyway because I made the mistake of reading. Reading before going to bed! That thing people do to fall asleep! But somehow reading doesn’t make me sleepy, reading recharges me. Even if it’s reading for class. Boring reading. Oh, when will I learn?

It’s all because I went to bed at 10 pm. I’m my own Dorothy Parker now. If only I’d learned from her example, I’d have known that nothing good ever comes from that. Then I wouldn’t be in this mess right now, typing away at almost midnight. Reason, prudence, common sense that tell you to get a solid eight – what have they done for me lately?

Well, it’s not just the reading. The stress might have something to do with it. Presentations are stressful. And everything else in life, too. But the night before the performance, that’s so me! And yes, a presentation is a performance. If you can perform gender, you can perform being a normal human. And there’s the wagging forefinger again. Yes, yes, it doesn’t do to sort people into ‘normal’ and myself into ‘not normal’. No matter how true it is in practice. But what does the old quack know, anyway? If this whole therapy thing had been any good I wouldn’t be in this mess right now  at 11:40 pm when all the decent people are just heading out the door.

If I fall asleep right now I still get seven hours. That’s a big If. Almost as big as the joke I’ve got planned for my cremation. It all depends on whether or not I can convince someone to hide five pounds of popcorn kernels in my coffin.

Again with the funerals. Yes, yes, I shouldn’t. But what can I do? It’s what I think about when I’m stressed. I’m not suicidal; I think. To use the words of an ex-friend, if I was really suicidal I’d be dead. Either way, no one inherits anything unless I get a train to chug-a chug-a me over to my semi-eternal resting place. And whoever does the best locomotion at the reception gets the good silverware. If I have any good silverware, that is.

Dorothy Parker would just get up and read her head off. Then again, I’m pretty sure she also drank herself to death. Maybe I should do that. But booze is costly, like… really now. I got my dad some fine whisky for Christmas because the man’s a connoisseur, or whatever that godawful French word is for people who like expensive stuff once in a while. Spell-check will tell me. Ah, there it is. And I spent an ungodly amount of money on just two bottles. I mean, I suppose if you die penniless that’s just excellent financial planning, but still. What if I’d need an emergency bottle of whatever I’m drinking myself to the pearly gates with? And you can’t drink yourself to hell on cheap booze. That’s just not classy. Who ever heard of someone dying from Heineken, or Bud Light, or Eristoff Ice? No, no, no, it has to be the fancy stuff. Otherwise it’s just sad. Death shouldn’t make you sad, that’s what taxes are for.

Maybe I should try for those seven hours. Or a bit less than seven now. Maybe my upstairs neighbour should get their bladder checked, because they always get up to pee at the exact same time each night. Thin goddamn walls. I wonder if they can hear me type. Are they thinking about their funerals, too? They should, because I’m calling dibs on the train.

I suppose I’ll just leave ol’ Dorothy here for other sleepless minds to read (or people in the southern hemisphere who are wondering why I’m talking about midnight at, like, noon.): “I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things.”

You tell ’em, Dot. Now, post this or sleep on it? Reason, prudence and common sense are sitting in the corner, drinking fizzy water and shaking their maiden-auntly heads. Eh… I’ll just smash my face into the touch screen and see what happens. And then I’ll try to get some 6 and a half hours. Maybe.

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