Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Conversation Always Ends in Death

I'd like you all to imagine yourself in a scenario for me. Please.

You're at a house party. You're having a drink of something or other, and standing with your mate.
Your host or hostess approaches with a smile, and says hello. Small talk ensues and people you do not know approach. Your host introduces everyone by name. Everyone shakes hands.
Then the inevitable happens.
Someone says,"So, what do you do for a living?"
Thanks for playing along. I bet you have never even thought about how you answer this question!

For most folks, this is probably not a big deal to answer.
"I'm a lawyer."
"I'm a mechanic."
"I'm an accountant."

I spend countless hours trying to think of a less shocking way to reveal who I am, and what I do.
"I help people in their time of need."
"Oh, you're a nurse!"
Nope, not quite. Not what I was aiming for.

"I'm in the transportation business."
"Oh, you're a trucker."
Not even close.

How I usually answer the question, and the conversation after my revelation usually goes something like this:

"I'm a full-time Mom, Wife, and Business owner."
"Oh, yeah. What kind of business are you in?"
"I provide transportation for funeral homes, cremation services, and the Coroner's Office."
"You touch dead people? Doesn't it creep you out?"
"I am a licenced funeral director by trade, so touching a body is the least of my concerns. And I don't get creeped out very easily."
"So you do the make up and stuff?"
"Among other things, yes."

I get asked if I ever get scared being by myself with a dead body. I've been asked if I've ever seen a dead body move. I get asked what the worst death call I've ever been on was.

I try to take the feelings of others into account in the above scenario. I always think, what if the lady in the cluster of people next to us has an aging parent who is at home dying this very minute, and this gathering is her only escape from her reality. What if the man who just walked up to our conversation has had the death of a partner or child in the last year? How would this conversation make those people feel?

The rest of questions that typically get asked to me, I do my best to answer them with one word answers, in a vain attempt to keep the 'death' conversation as short as possible. If the question requires a lengthy answer, I suggest to them that the situation may not be appropriate for that type of conversation, but I would be willing to answer whatever questions they may have at another time.

Around me, the conversation always gets redirected to death.

So pretend we're in a coffee shop. Just you and me.
You have a question to ask (or two or three), send me a message and ask away.
I'll answer them as honestly as I can, maybe even post one or two of the questions and responses.
Send your questions to antieeboo@hotmail(dot)com

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