I used to think that the message on my urn of ashes would read: She was always so pissed off. I also used to think that I wanted to marry Tab Hunter and become an astronaut. Fortunately, I have a delicate stomach, so the space-flying fantasy didn’t take off and, Tab, as it turned out, came out. Oh – and that urn of ashes comment also proved false. After several years of therapy and a conscious effort to reframe my life into the three-quarters-full glass that it was, I stopped with the anger. A few years later, after adding a pretty little green pill to my daily health-boosting regimen, I got downright happy.
How happy? Happy enough to realize that the wording on my urn needed to change, but not happy enough to be oblivious to a world that was geologically and geopolitically blowing up. Seeing this devastation and wondering if my obit would be as short as Jennie K’s, which read: “Jennie lived. Jennie died. Bye-Jennie.” I started thinking more about my own life and what should be written not just on my urn of ashes but in my obituary, as well.
This thought was more editorial than macabre.
As a storyteller, I love reading obituaries because they’re the only unedited part of a newspaper. I find them grammatically impossible, always intimate and often funny. Not funny that people died, but funny how the rememberers write about the deceased.
Some obits begin with explaining the way the name is pronounced – like it matters now? Plus, if the name is so difficult to pronounce, it better reflects the deceased life if it continues to be mispronounced when transitioning.
Some of them have so many Christs and saints and saviors that I lose track of who the damn deceased is. It seems that you ought to get top billing at least once or twice in your life/death and this is the perfect time.
For similar reasons, let’s skip all the where-froms and forebears, who in my case had been foredead for about 40 years. An obit may be the cheapest advertising you can buy in a newspaper, but it still costs (ask Jennie’s obit writer). I’d rather use the money I save for adjectives about me, as dead as I expect to be.
To have some input into what will be said about me after the air leaves my lungs and to tap into the knowledge acquired from reading obits so many years, I’d rather pen my own, which I hope reads like the following:
Darryl A Forman died this afternoon in her beloved Bernal Heights neighborhood. She was surrounded by her framily, her friends, and Jazzy, her beloved furry mood-elevator and bed-warmer. The cause of her death was excessive happiness, sobbed her 20-year-younger-husband Alejandro.
Darryl came out of the womb speaking in full sentences. Given that she sprang from Jewish loins and grew up in Newton Mass, this didn’t seem that unusual. What was unusual was how she combined this verbal gift with her sharp and delightful sense of humor and cranked out very entertaining reading. Reading her stories was like listening to her talk. She was funny enough to do stand-up, but referred to herself not as a comedian or even a humorist, but, as she put it, “I feel like a witticist, but it feels so unwitful to admitful.”
Her first book, “The Unleavened Truth” changed her life forever. One of the essays in the book was about her Jon Stewart fantasy. The story reached Jon and he fulfilled her fantasy when he invited her to appear on The Daily Show. After that, book sales sky-rocketed and the girl became a “get.” Television, radio and website interviewers fell over themselves trying to get her wittiness on their stages. One cable network told her it would build a reality show around her called - Menopause Survivor. She called it “American Mydol,” but declined the offer.
In Las Vegas, beyond all her protestations and defenses–Darryl fell in love. She was relieved that this new-found state, which to her resembled indigestion, didn’t dull her creative edge. When Alejandro proposed marriage to her the first time, she replied, “Why ruin a good thing?” She eventually said yes and promised never to write about him if he promised to take care of her forever.
Darryl was pleased her books made many readers laugh, but she was just as proud of the words she got into the OED, especially “notaubiography,” (formerly called memoirs), and her trademark, framily (friends who become family). Darryl was a wonderful friend and brought much good cheer into situations. She also was a curious person – her last words were, “You know the difference between life and death? Ask me tomorrow.”
Darryl lived … well.
About The Unleavened Truth by Darryl A. Forman:
Sit down and have a cup of coffee (and eat something…you’re looking a little thin), because oy vey does humorist Darryl A. Forman have something to tell you.
Join Darryl in this rollicking collection of essays covering everything from growing up Jewish to surgery to a secret love for Jon Stewart (ok, not so secret anymore). You’ll encounter cruise ship travels gone awry and wry looks at relationships that have cruised. From dads that are rabbis to jobs that have gone bye-bye, Darryl puts her own unique spin on telling-it-like-it-is.
Or, as Darryl would say, laying out her ‘notautobiographical’ life story as The Unleavened Truth.
How to Purchase The Unleavened Truth:
The Unleavened Truth is $3.99 from The Untreed Reads Store in a special multipack containing EPUB, HTML, PDB, PDF and MOBI formats. This title is 30% off through 12/31.
You’ll also find the titles at virtually every ebook retailer around the world including Amazon, B&N and Apple’s iBookstore. You’ll find links to these stores on the description page in The Untreed Reads Store.
If the title hasn’t arrived at your favorite retailer, it soon will! It sometimes takes our retailers a few weeks to process new titles.
Untreed Reads ebook titles are also available for sale to public libraries through our distributor Overdrive. If you’d like to see our titles available for electronic checkout at your local library, please let them know.
If you are a reviewer and would like a copy, please contact Brendan Seibel firstname.lastname@example.org .