Son, I’ve wanted to have this conversation with you for a while now, and thus far I’ve been unsure as to the best way to broach the subject. You’re getting older; you’re sitting up a little straighter. Object permanence seems to have really set in completely, which I think is appropriate, because it leads us nicely to the topic I’d like to discuss with you—namely, the permanence of we human beings on this insignificant, little planet.
When I die I want my loved ones to scatter my ashes around the world. The idea of returning to the dust of the earth and becoming one with the natural beauty around us is enough to make my departed soul breathe easy. And don’t get me wrong, I really want that for my own soul, but son, if it’s not too much trouble, I’d like you to honor one extra little request of mine, when you’re scattering my charred remains to the winds.
I want you to find out where that no-good asshole, Peter Whitcomb, is having his ashes scattered, and when he dies I want you to go and scatter my ashes on top of his.
That’s right. He’s nothing but a pretentious jerk who tries to sound way more intelligent than he actually is—and he only got the idea to have his ashes scattered from me. I know, because I remember him talking about how he was going to be buried at that Halloween party that he and his wife threw. But then when I told everyone about how I wanted to be cremated, I saw that smug, stupid little look in his eyes, like you could tell he wanted to steal my idea for himself.
I was going to tell him to back off, but you had just started eating solid foods, and Tracy let you eat too much candy corn so you puked all over the hors d’oeuvres table.
But the joke’s gonna be on him, son. You covered his table with your orange, candy corn baby vomit, and when he’s gone you’re gonna go find the places where his family scattered his ashes and spread a nice, thick layer of what was once your old man on top of all his business. Nowhere is safe. Was Peter scattered over his favorite camping spot in the boundary waters? Let’s see if he can enjoy that when he’s covered with the ashen residue of my dead body. Did his family spread a little of him down by the go-kart track where all his favorite childhood memories took place? Well, go sweep him into the dirt, and make sure to tell him that your father sent you. Heck, I don’t care if he gets some sherpa to throw his ashes over the top of Mount Everest. I want you to climb up there, stamp the ground that those ashes were scattered on, and dump me on top of him, so that my legacy is way more awe-inspiring and emotionally touching than his is.
And no, it’s not bad karma. This is a guy who somehow manages to connect every topic of conversation with how funny he thought the most recent political cartoon in the New Yorker was. Punch me in the gut with a boxing glove filled with bricks and pretentiousness. The pope couldn’t put up with this man.
Now, I’m not saying I’m planning on leaving you anytime soon, son. Best-case scenario: I die of obesity-related complications. That way you’ve got plenty to work with when you’re trying to ration out what’s left of my blackened, burnt corpse. And I’m working on timing it just right so that I go a few days after him, so you can get started right away, when he’s still fresh. Just stay calm, stay focused, and for Christ’s sake, don’t tell your mother about this. Not yet, at least. You know how she gets when I give you these kinds of important talks.
Now, let’s get you into that sink for a nice bath.