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Ad Mortem Festinamus On:2011-01-17 00:00:00

I I suppose I should be worried, really---or perhaps even really worried. I mean perhaps they know something I don’t. Either that or they have a nastily weird sense of humour.

As with most folk, the disquiet all started for me ages ago, and gently enough, when I began to get begging adverts from a mysterious organization with a name that sounded disturbingly like the cry of a large, ungainly and possibly rather smelly bird---you know ‘Aarp! Aarp!!’, but that was no worry then because we all know how the AARP try to recruit you almost as soon as you are out of diapers and W E L L before you need to get back into diapers. So they and their whining could happily be ignored for decades.
And then the guv’m’nt got into the act, adding to those pathetic little reminders that they send you from time to time, of just how pathetic Social Security is, a leaflet entitled “Thinking of Retiring?”---well everyone ignores what those buggers in Washington say so still, as they say, “no worries”.


But then...


Then, quite recently, I started getting hundreds of Momento Mori messages from, if not actually beyond the grave, at least from people presumably standing next to graves and probably rubbing together, rather than wringing, their hands. You know, undertakers, those vultures-vultures-everywhere folk, the guys who try to put the fun into funeral, and now apparently those fun guys have become the actual Harbingers of Death. Oh! and as a fun bit of aside-y, funereal trivia, did you know that the Latin ‘Momento Mori’ means something like ‘don’t forget to die sometime in the future’. And these sepulchral messages seem to exist solely to expand on this wild harbingering and to remind me to dispose of the body afterwards in a responsible and, of course, profitable manner.

The first one I remember getting be-snuck itself up on me from my mailbox in the form of a quite restrained form letter with a request on the envelope to “Help your community by answering a few brief questions.”---brief, as it turned out, in the ‘out, out brief candle’ sense: a fact I should have gleaned from the return address being to ‘Dignity Memorial’. I was left strutting and fretting I can tell you! I mean the questions were all of the ‘Have you already purchased cemetery property and if you haven’t would you like to?’ variety.
And this would, according to Dignity Memorial, help meet the needs of their community, a community of affluent zombies perhaps. Ugh! Have they no Dignity?

Then there’s the type that cleverly disguise themselves as ‘IMPORTANT NON-GOVERMENT DOCUMENTs’ which should never be confused with important government documents nor for that matter unimportant government documents nor in fact any sort of government documents whatsoever, and which featured something about my final wishes. I bet that they would not be happy to know what my final wishes for them would be.

Then there was the Neptune Society, which was not as one might guess into burial at sea (nor even flushing down the toilet) but quite the opposite---cremation! I’d have thought Neptune would have been a bit of a wet blanket there, but for the fact that they seem to delight in contradiction ’cause on the envelope they had the oxymoron “Free Pre-Paid Cremation”
The horror isn’t the thought of being buried or cremated or even flushed down the toilet, it’s that these buggers all know me, all have my name and address and apparently age, and I’ve had mail from them on more than one occasion---many more. It’s enough to drive you to death.
And Yes, I admit I am getting a bit older and am moving closer to some hypothetical end, but the worms aren’t tying bibs round their necks yet and I don’t need all this encouragement in that direction!

And then, in the most unkindest cut of all for someone who really is going to get back into running his 5k three times a week---really no really, I got some ads from an entity called ‘The SCOOTER Store’ (with SCOOTER all in block capitals in case you are too far gone) complete with a ‘Personal Mobility Assessment Enclosed’ which seemed to assume I was on my last legs or indeed completely off my last legs.
And, finally, I won’t even mention all the life and death insurance and assorted other retirementy bumpf that slews into my mailbox of late, largely because, what with today’s economic environment and my leech-like dependents, my retirement plans are going to involve collapsing face downward into my computer keyboard at work.

And not even saying
Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton

(Ad Mortem Festinamus: We rush towards death)

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