I have, well, I had a grandfather that died around Xmas. Not too many Xmas jokes you’ll find in a graveyard. Halloween jokes are one thing. My mother was like seven, had a nine year old brother, and a younger brother and sister. They were all messed up by it, needless to say. I can understand that I guess. Not certain why me and my cousins had to help pay the therapy bill, it certainly wasn't our fault, but I can understand the pain.
Anyway about this time every year I visit his grave and there’s this funny epitaph that says: Is that the best you guys got? Always makes me laugh even when I’m sad, and what a horrible place to laugh but it’s funny, you know. Halloween jokes, horror jokes, sick jokes, they release inner stress that normally one stores up until POP, there’s problems, serious problems, usually the kind of problems that bog me down at this time of the year, causing a mass depression, until I see that stupid headstone.
But for some reason this time I'm not dragging. I'm being pushed by some hidden drive like I'm near the finish line and can smell a break. I pop up at five or six A.M. feeling refreshed and driven no matter what, I get in front of the computer and write no matter what, I conquer my job, I work out, I think, think, think, no matter what, pushed or pulled by some great unseen force. Perhaps some primordial call to exist while I still have the time. I don't know.
I look forward to seeing that stupid headstone and visiting my grandfather, maybe even going out with the kids and trick-or-treating. This year I feel good about it all. Life, and even death are not even going to get me down this year. Something about that tombstone’s message has engraved itself in my mind. IS THAT THE BEST YOU GOT?
It’s too perfect. That guy was right. That guy had it all figured out. It’s inevitable, death, so why worry about it, just take life one day at a time and take it on the chin. In the end all that’s left is a saying on a piece of granite and a name anyway, and some guy that visits you once a year who has to take care of the dog and get over a divorce and deal with miserable people and work work work.
I hit the cemetery amidst dull grey skies carrying blood red roses for my grandfather’s grave. The grass is green but the scene is pale, it has the pallor of a tombstone. I make the grave of the guy with the motto that I’m going to live by, and there it is, only this year it’s accompanied by a new tombstone right next to it. It’s his wife’s tombstone. ‘Is that all you got.’ Reads the husbands tombstone.
‘More than you had.’ Read’s the wife’s.
Suddenly, I’m depressed again.