You know how you always told me, “Think like a poet and thrive within your constraints”? Well, Dad, since moving into the mausoleum, I’m proud to say I’ve been doing just that. One might even say that I’ve come to embody all your other passive-aggressive-jibes-disguised-as-folksy-aphorisms about investing in the future, making more out of less, bootstraps, etcetera.
Now I know you must be wondering what it’s like living the dream. Well, it’s been almost three months and I’ve made a fairly seamless transition into the Glowing Fawn community. Of course, giving up certain freedoms did require a period of readjustment (the 6 pm curfew, in particular, grated at first), but the benefits far outweigh any loss in creature comforts. At Glowing Fawn, I enjoy ample parking, first-rate security and the boundless gift of unspoiled nature. Gone is the patter of little feet above my head. No more shall my spleen be fingered by the bass frequencies of Sunn0))) blasted at 3 am by the MFA-timewasters in the apartment below. My closest neighbors? Dead for more than 270 years. They rest in peace, yes, but more importantly, so do I. (It’s true that the local school district isn’t top-notch, but as you always told me, life is about trade offs.)
The best part—and here I’m sure you’ll agree—is the financial security I enjoy having opted out of the real estate rat race. As you’ve often bleated, living in the Big City is not cheap. Despite the fact that our economy is as gutted as a Santeria sacrifice, rents remain stubbornly high. From a cost-per-square-foot perspective, my mausoleum is competitive with even modestly priced studios in this neighborhood, but without the headache of rent hikes or property taxes. I know what you’re thinking; what about resale value? Don’t worry, Dad, that base is covered. The lady at the sales office informs me that within five years, Glowing Fawn will reach full capacity. Full capacity! Which means the next time a local family balks at schlepping two hours to some sterile, exurban burial-mart where grandpa will be dispatched to his remote plot with Costco-like efficiency, I get to name my price. Not that I have any urge to cash out. I’ve finally managed to find a home for myself—in this life and beyond—with room to accommodate my entire family. With room, in fact, for you, Dad.
Which brings me to my next point. Let’s face it; you live in Arizona. And while it’s true that I’ve never made it out there to visit you in the twelve years since you’ve retired, I want you to know that I do scan the papers religiously for news of the Grand Canyon state every day. And the news isn’t good, is it? From what I’ve gleaned, Arizona has become an apocalyptic, denuded landscape of foreclosed homes and shuttered businesses. Cue the tumbleweed, Dad. With those stimulus checks gone, people are excavating the gold from their teeth on the sidewalks outside Cash America Pawn, and whatever housing investment you’ve made is sinking faster than Aunt Madge’s poundcake through my lower intestine right now.
Now, I know you’ve gotten used to Shuffleboard Saturdays and Casino Fridays and whatever leather-fisted debauchery characterizes the 4-1 female to male ratio at Sunny River, but the serene and contemplative joys of life at the cemetery cannot be overstated! There is always some kind of shindig going down at the chapel, or our columbarium, Slumbering Vines, and on Halloween and Memorial Day, it’s like the Mall of America around here. Strolling through the grounds provides a rich opportunity for exploring history, not to mention celebrity spotting. Did you know the inventor of the Brillo Pad is interred at Glowing Fawn (Lot 6501, Section M)? And just consider for a moment the zen-like pleasure of an afternoon spent by the duck pond, surrounded by marble statuary of the highest order, with nothing, save perhaps the stray wails of the freshly bereaved, to disturb your meditation. Once again, the cost of luxuriating in this garden of earthy delights? Gratis.
Anyways, Dad, I’m slipping a brochure in the mail for you. It’s pitched to a different audience, to be sure, so take the council you always gave me and keep an open mind. Ignore the casket on the cover. Just keep pinching yourself and remember: you’re not dead.