Post to the Host

Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

Send GK Your Question »

July 23, 2007 | 11 Comments

Garrison,
I was at a funeral recently for a long-time Chicago theatre producer. Apparently, when you're in the theatre and you die, people give you a standing ovation and cheer, like, "hey, great job in this life. Now, go on to your next show!" Well, there were the first few awkward seconds of the ovation—as many were not familiar with the tradition and were apprehensive about clapping. The person who started this ovation yelled, "Way to go, Tony!" and started his slow loud clap. But once people caught on, they really cheered. I really hope people do this for me. I would invite you to mine but I'm only 32 and I hope not to die for a while. You're a few years older than I am ... so, if you go before I do, I'd be more than happy to start the clapping off for you. But, hopefully, that won't be for a while either.

Well, all my best to you and your endeavors.

Jenny
Chicago

If you should attend my funeral rites, Chicago Jenny, you'll be very brave if you start clapping. And you shouldn't expect other people to follow. I'll probably expire right here in St. Paul and these people know me much too well and aren't about to give me a standing O. They'll figure I got enough cheap praise in life and now it's time to face the music. That's why I've specified no eulogy. I don't want somebody to have the job of embroidering a big fanciful account of my life. But it's awfully generous of you to offer to attend. You're the first person to mention this.


11 Comments


Jenny, I'll join you in clapping!


I'll come to, Mr. Keillor.


Ahhh...a humble man. Not many of
those around these days. I always
figured we should tell people how
we feel about them and treat them
well BEFORE they die. Garrison,
you are greatly admired -- for oh
so much!
Sandy Gilman
San Clemente, CA


Each week, thousands applaud your wonderful contributions to our lives. Minnesotans aside, those many thousands will, one day, applaud the sum total of what you've given us.
And for many years after, because so much of your work has been captured in different media, many more thousands will discover and immensely appreciate what you stilll will be doing.


As the Romans used to say, "Sic transit gloria"....and not only do our glories past, but so do great humorists....and so do we.

Whether Garrison wants it or not, there's nothing wrong with our appreciative salutes farewell when the time comes and if we are still around to applaud.

Until we all get to that heavenly place where all the woes are truly begone, let's be thankful for the shy and gifted humorist we have. Eulogies are best delivered when the eulogized can still hear them.


If there is room to get in, I will be there. Geez, give your life's work some credit. Bringing a smile to even one person on the planet is cause to be proud. Celebrate it all!


In this regard, I think Peter Sellers had it right. He used "In The Mood" as the music at his cremation. Apparently, he hated it, but could not think of a more incongruous tune for the occasion. Attendees record that it replaced tears of sorrow with those of utter hilarity.
Some people just know how to make an exit.


As a minister, I applaud you NOW (rather than at the aforementioned presumably far distant funeral) for specifying no eulogy. Far too much emphasis is placed on praising the departed during many funerals; there's not enough time to pay proper tribute to a saint and there's not enough truth to pay adequate homage to a sinner. As for clapping, no amount of noise will be heard by the honoree. Speak (or write) of your admiration while you still have an address for the person.


I love Jenny's idea of clapping for the life the person lived. I want an ice cream social, balloons flying sky high to help me on my way to heaven, AND PEOPLE LAUGHING because they know that God is waiting with open arms to welcome me into His kingdom!


Garrison,

It's me...Jenny from Chicago. Sorry if I started something...you know...like a large mob of admirers who are going to clap at your funeral whether you like it or not. Perhaps if that happens, we should just be happy they're clapping because they all appreciate your work and not simply because they're happy you're dead---I doubt the latter would be the case. But regardless of the reason, I hope and assume that it's a long time off and will happily be inspired by your work. Plus, who knows?.. Maybe we can still hear after we're done with our bodies. If so, I shall set a nice, loud cicada near you to keep you company. Again, all my best...Jenny in Chicago


Ladder 49, a John Travolta movie, ended with a memorial service for a fireman killed in the line of duty.

Travolta, as Chief, led the service. He ended it by saying, "We're here to praise Jimmy's life, not to mourn him," and he started a slow clap. Before long everyone there had joined him.

Now I know that was just a movie, but I think the practice should become universal. No more with doleful preachers reciting the psalms. We professs to believe that we go on to a better existence, so let's have some joy and celebration.

As for myself, I plan to have a pizza party, not a funeral. A part of the invitation will read:

"Anyone who wishes to:
1. Praise Tony's life,
2. Celebrate his demise, or
3. Freeload on pizza and drinks
is cordially invited..."

You, too, Mr. K, if you care to travel from St. Paul to Ishpeming. I'm hoping it will happen about twenty-one years from now so that I will outdistance my dad who died at 96.

I apologize for being so wordy.

Anthony Moore


Previous Post:
« 

Next Post:
 »

Post to the Host Archive

Complete Post to the Host Archive


American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy