New year, new me. That’s not true at all. If you didn’t like this column in 2021, I doubt you like 2022, but keep reading. I keep better track of my detractors than supporters. In 2021 I had a guy tell me to smoke a muffler, wished me dead in a compost pile and accused me of throwing out uninformed patriotic driven opinions. I’ll wear the uninformed opinion label. As far as veiled death threats, I’d like to come to an agreement to skip those this year. Let’s smell the roses, six feet apart.
The wife and I have been cleaning out our basement. Like many families, my family tree went from being a rather strong little sapling growing up in a normal Midwestern climate, to a lightning ravaged, weathered tree that you might accidentally cut down if not for the fact it hides another few ugly trees. Anyway, that meant lots of less than upward growing branches on the family tree that made it a little bushier and hanging a little closer to the ground. Think Weeping Willows. If you have big plans for your death, don’t read this next part.
Basically, I have surmised from this basement cleaning that your material life is reduced to a final small box of things in the end. Mostly its cards and notes and a nice little sign-in book that the funeral home gives you, or more aptly gives to the last person out the door of your funeral. Most of the books even include a recent picture of you before you died, which is certainly preferable to one after you die.
I mean, it’s nice and all, but kind of sad to cram 70-80 or 100 years into a small box. As some odd sort of irony, I became the most stable and proximate child of these families that became our family tree and ended up with eight “death boxes.” Eight! My nephew who died in his 30s had the same size box as my stepfather, who was almost 90. Let that sink in.
Anyway, the moral to the story is that our legacies, beyond the memories of your family and friends are generally whittled down to these “death boxes” and yours may end up among many in the basement of some unknown descendant/relative, live your life accordingly.
One of the boxes that I ended up with is a step-great aunt. I met her like once. If not for me having her ashes, I would have guessed she’d be rolling over in her grave at the thought of me caring for her memory.
Just for the record. The only way to properly dispose of family heirlooms is a dumpster. Get a few beers in you and let it rip. It’s the only respectful way to treat these items. Wouldn’t want some family member to find them at a thrift store and have to buy them back. That would be awkward.
I don’t have a good segue from death boxes to politics, so lets just rip the band aid off and move on.
Platte County’s Missouri Senator Tony Luetkemeyer has put his name on several bills for the upcoming legislative session and it’s like a Republican fantasy list. Young Republicans in navy blue blazers and red ties just sit around eating Angus steak, drinking Michelob Ultras and read this list and drool. He’s fighting for the Kansas City police department to get more budget dollars. He’s behind a sports gambling bill for Missouri, exempting disabled vets from property taxes, limiting growth on assessments for property taxes, provisions relating to elections, tougher penalties for offenses relating to police dogs and a few other bills that would make Alex Keaton and Ronald Reagan proud. Anyway, I like it. I’m not sure the local Democratic caucus will be thrilled, but as President Obama once said, elections have consequences.
(Guy Speckman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or offering to store your death box)