By Jerry Zezima
If I have learned anything in my 68 years on this globe — aside from the fact that life is too short for light beer — it is this:
The older you get, the younger old people seem to be.
This was driven home (though not, thank God, in hearse) when three things recently happened.
(a) My wife, Sue, and I redid our wills.
(b) I got a brochure in the mail from a cemetery.
(c) My doctor said I won’t have to worry about the first two for a long time, although he did add that for enough money, he could have me declared legally dead.
All of these comforting thoughts entered what little remains of my mind when Sue and I visited our lawyer, Tim Danowski.
“Are you going to discuss our habeas corpses?” I asked.
“That’s a dead issue,” said Tim, who drew up what he called “I love you” wills.
First we went over Sue’s will, which refers to me, in Article IV, as her “beloved husband.”
“I notice that in Article V, I am not ‘beloved’ anymore,” I pointed out. “I’m just referred to as Sue’s husband.”
I didn’t worry about it because the “beloved” reference to Sue, and subsequent lack thereof, was the same in my will, which also detailed what would happen if I became incoherent.
“My family thinks I’m that way now,” I said.
Then we got down to assets and what our children would get.
“We don’t have millions of dollars,” Sue said.
“We have dozens of dollars,” I added.
“Our younger daughter has already said she wants my ice cream,” Sue told Tim.
“All I have of any value are beer, wine and Three Stooges memorabilia,” I said. “Let the kids fight over it.”
“They won’t have to do it for quite a while,” said Tim. “You guys are young.”
“When you get to be our age,” I told Tim, who is in his 30s, “anyone who is older is young. Even if a guy dies when he’s 80, we’ll say, ‘What a shame. Cut down in the prime of life.’ Now that we aren’t young anymore, nobody else is old.”
“That’s one way to look at it,” said Tim, whom we thanked for his excellent work in helping us get our affairs in order.
And not a moment too soon because the very next day, I got a brochure from Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum.
“Give your loved ones a gift that will provide peace of mind and lasting comfort,” it read. “Those who visit Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum will find themselves surrounded in the beauty of the grounds with wide-sweeping lawns that feature majestic trees, colorful flower beds, historic sculptures and tranquil fountains. This carefully planned and expertly maintained landscape has made Pinelawn the most beautiful memorial park in America.”
“All I have to do,” I told Sue, “is die.”
“I’ll visit you once a week,” she promised.
I wanted a second opinion. So I saw my physician, Dr. Antoun Mitromaras.
“Tell the people at the cemetery to call me,” Dr. Mitromaras said. “I’ll tell them that I won’t let you die.”
“Do I have a pulse?” I asked the good doctor.
“Yes,” he announced, adding that my blood pressure was perfect and my weight was normal.
“I guess the cemetery will have to wait to get business from me,” I said.
“Unless they want to give me $10,000,” Dr. Mitromaras said. “Then I can arrange for you to be a customer.”
My heart raced.
“Just kidding,” said Dr. Mitromaras, an 80-year-old jokester who knows that laughter is the best medicine.
“What’s your secret of longevity?” I asked.
“Minerals,” he responded.
“Aren’t they hard to swallow?” I wondered.
“Not if they’re in pill form,” Dr. Mitromaras said. “Multivitamins are good, too. So is physical activity. And nuts.”
“I’m nuts,” I informed him.
“I know,” he said, adding that when he dies, he wants an above-ground tomb. “In case I wake up in a year or two. And I want it with a glass ceiling and a view of the water.”
“You want a tomb with a view?” I asked.
“It’s the only way to go,” said Dr. Mitromaras.
When I got home, I told Sue that I passed my physical with flying colors.
“It looks like you’re stuck with your ‘beloved’ husband,” I said. “And now I can tell the people at the cemetery to drop dead.”
Copyright 2022 by Jerry Zezima