I’m lucky I didn’t break something. I was alone in the house, dustbusting the rug in the living room, when I did a side-step on my flip-flop and sloooowwwly fell to the floor, hard. On my $50,000 hip replacement. I always wonder, is it better to fall on your titanium hip replacement, or on your regular 66-year-old hip? I’m sure the official answer is “it depends.”
Anyway, I lay there for a few minutes with the dustbuster humming away on its green back and out of reach, thought about the above, and mentally checked over my body parts. She’s cousin Shannon, who is a number of years my junior, fell recently and sustained a terrible shoulder injury. I thought about her, too. I thought about how shocked She would be if she came home an hour later and found me lying there all broken with the dustbuster, now quiet and battery-dead. You never know the time or the place, as She is fond of saying.
But I’m okay this time. Just sore and not laughing quite as heartily as I was about She’s recent visit to the funeral home. She went with her friend Mary, who is 87. Mary had a stroke last month, so she was nervous about not having her “Plans” finalized. They went to get some information.
“So whajuh find out?” I queried later that day. She sat on the couch with her pocket folder from the funeral home. She had a look of determination on her face that made me worry. “I want to get this paid for,” she said. It’s $50.00 down and $101.00 a month for 36 months if you get this insurance policy, and if you die before it’s paid up, that’s all it costs.” “Such a deal,” I snorted. “Where are you going all of a sudden? It would sure pay to die early!” She drew herself up defensively. “This covers quite a lot,” she said, starting to read some of the included “services.” “Three hundred ninety-eight dollars for a bath, comb-out and makeup.” “What!!” I yelled. “I thought you were being cremated!” “Well, it’s for visitation,” she said patiently. “Medical examiner, $50.00.” “Why do you need their medical examiner?” I screeched. “It’s required,” she replied somewhat venomously. “You mean after your own doctor has provided a death certificate, this other guy says ‘Yep, she’s dead’ as you roll past on the conveyor belt to the furnace? Boy, I could do that job,” I snarled. “I am not going to talk to you about this anymore,” she snapped, slapping down the folder.
The next day, she talked things over with the other volunteers at the hospital. When she came home, she’d decided that the funeral home thing was a big rip-off. Of course I had to point out that I was the one who recognized the scam-like schtick right out of the folder, and I made some snarky comments about the snake-oil funeral dude. But we agreed that having our Plans in place was a good idea, and vowed to work on it.
I thought about that when I was lying on the floor. Life comes at you fast, and you never know the time or the place. (That’s another reason for not pre-paying, I said earlier today. How do you know you’ll die in Virginia? Maybe you’ll go to Wyoming and be eaten by a bear. You wouldn’t even need a bath or a comb-out.)