Johnny-on-the-Spot …by John Foster …
Every April we have an “epitaph day”.
By definition, an epitaph is a phrase or form of words in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone or headstone.
It comes from the Greek phrase “epitaphios”, meaning funeral oration.
On “Plan Your Epitaph Day, we’re reminded to take some time to think about and plan how you want to be remembered.
Some of the celebrity epitaphs that are memorable include Frank Sinatra’s “The Best is Yet to Come” which was a hit for old Blue Eyes in 1964 and reportedly the last song he sang in public.
Dr. Martin Luther King’s epitaph draws from his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech when he said, “Free at Last. Free at Last. Thank God Almighty, I’m Free at Last”.
Voice actor and radio personality Mel Blanc went to rest with Porky Pig’s “Looney Tunes” lines, “That’s All Folks!”
T-V mogul Merv Griffin signed off with “I will not be right back after this message”.
the man who gets no respect, Rodney Dangerfield has a headstone inscribed with “There goes the neighborhood.”
Actor Jack Lemmon’s epitaph is short and sweet.
“Jack Lemmon In”.
Another actor, Leslie Nielsen’s final words are “Let ‘er Rip!”
Musician Douglas Glenn
Colvin, better known as Dee Dee Ramone has an epitaph that states, “O.K. I gotta go now”.
Some folks wax poetic with their epitaphs.
“Here lies good, old Fred. A great big rock fell on his head.”
If you look in Vermont, you can find, “Here lies the body of our Anna. Done to death by a banana. It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low. But the skin of the thing that made her go.”
Meanwhile, somewhere in Pennsylvania is “Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake. Stepped on the gas instead of the brake.”
In New York state, there’s an epitaph that reads, “Underneath this pile of stones, lies all that’s left of Sally Jones. Her name was Lord, it wasn’t Jones. But Jones was used to rhyme with stones.”
Then there’s this one.
“Here lies the body of Mary Ann Bent. She kicked up her heels and away she went.”
In Tombstone, Arizona you can find this epitaph.
“Here lies Lester Moore. Four slugs from a 44. No Les. No More.”
A wheeler and dealer closed out life with, “I made some good deals. I made some bad deals. I really went in the hole with this one.”
There are others exhibiting an offbeat sense of humor.
“I’m filling my last cavity.” (a dentist).
“Here lies John Yeast. Pardon me for not rising.”
“I was hoping for a pyramid.”
“He Loved Bacon…Oh, an his wife and kids, too.”
“Died for not forwarding that message to 10 people.”
“”I told you I was sick”.
“She always said her feet were killing her, but no one believed her.”
“Damn, it’s dark down here.”
“I have nothing further to say.”
Then there’s Ludolph van Ceulen.
His epitaph was the first 35 numbers of “Pi” since he was the first to calculate that term out to that many numbers.
I think cremation might be reducing the number of epitaphs these days.
Perhaps that’s why I told my family I wanted to be deep-frozen and driven into the ground with a pile-driver.
All of this has me thinking about my own epitaph.
I’;ve considered using an alias.
Perhaps “Imma Goner”, “Barry M. Deep”, “Yul B. Next”, “Dee Compose”, “Anti-Moore-Tishan”,
“Willy B. Back”, “Rustin Peace”, “Rick Amortis” or “Hugo First”.
What about this epitaph?
“When my day comes,
I want no tears.
Just pass around
Some ice, cold beers.”
“I always loved my Dad and Muddha
almost as much as peanut budda.”
I caught grief from loved ones for yard care, so here’s one more.
“My wife and kids can’t le me go
’cause now it’s them who have to mow.”
But wait! There’s more.
“Docs checked him yearly for a new tumor
but they couldn’t remove his sense of humor.”
Then I might resort to the clever soul who had the last laugh with his headstone inscription.
“Ha! Ha! Ha!