Monday, November 16

#46 - your funeral

A courier visits you one day while you are working, dropping off a relatively thick 9x12 mailing. When you remark that you haven't been expecting any sort of special delivery, the messenger replies that the package came from an unknown source.

After the messenger leaves, you open the envelope to discover a number of 8.5 x 11 sheets bound together. The top page is marked "FUNERAL TRANSCRIPT" with your name underneath.

A note is attached to this bound document, and reading the note sheds some degree of light on its contents. This is a script of your funeral, a line by line account. It is based 100% accurately on the actual event, whenever in the future it will take place. However, it has been altered in such a way that reading it would not indicate the exact identity of any of the speakers, or the year that the funeral occurs. You would likely be able to determine the general time period (and thus a ballpark age of death), but all specifics have been blacked out of the document.

In order to verify the authenticity of the transcript, the note directs you to the inside cover of the bound pages. There, you see an insignificant fact about yourself of which nobody else has any knowledge. This does not give you much to go on, but you have no way of explaining how this fact is included. You begin to sense that the document may be legitimate.

Though many details will be missing, reading the transcript would likely provide you with a sense of the overall course of your life. The main question you have is whether this account of your funeral represents your inexorable destiny, or if it is simply based on the general direction of your life as it stands today (and can be impacted by decisions you make in the future). On this matter, the note is silent.

Knowing nothing else, do you read the transcript or not?


Paul said...

Ansolutely! I'm going straight inside, putting on a pot of coffee, kicking back on an easy chair and devouring that manuscript! Its insane, its kind of sick, but... oh curiousity! I'm the kind of person that can't stop at 1, 2 or even 3 cookies if there is a plate of them on the table - so how could I stop from reading this!?

I've noticed life's circumstances can change in a flash - I think that no matter what the outline of the funeral is, I'll still have freedom to make bold choices in my life. And, most profoundly, I'm convinced I'm more powerful than the manuscript. In the even I don't like it, I'll bet I can make choices to put myself on a better path. If I do love it, I have a general confidence of what can be achieved and it will give me something to look for. Both ways it emboldens me.

In short, I can't wait to read this!


Holly said...

I don't think I would read it for several reasons. First, I don't think I would want to know fully the pain that people I love might face at my death (or at least I HOPE some people might be sad : ). I think it would make "letting go" when the time came that much harder. Second, I don't think it would be an accurate picture of how people felt about me anyway, maybe just a pat on the back. Besides notorious figures in literature, not many people get negative things said about them (or even "areas for improvement") at their funerals. It's mostly a time to say nice things about the deceased (not that I am at all saying this is a bad practice). I guess it might be nice to hear one or two remarks about how I may have touched a life in some way that I wasn't aware of before my funeral, but the lure would probably not be enough to get me to read the script.

Matt said...

I don't think I would read it, the main reason being that finding much of anything out about my death would creep me out. I would probably end up dwelling on it too much.

Just receiving the document in the mail would probably act as a prompt to get a person thinking about their mortality and legacy. I think a lot could be accomplished without actually reading the transcript (the thought alone of what it might or might not say providing encouragement or a kick in the pants).

Amy said...

I would definitely read it. Like Paul, I don't think I could help myself. Plus, I consider myself to be a rather morbid and affirmation needy person and think I would fully enjoy hearing people talk about me after I had died.