Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Grim Reaper Wears Prada

This is Florida.  Around here, folks take "God's waiting room" seriously.  The classified ads in the local newspaper include a separate section for "Cemeteries, Mausoleums & Crypts."  It's a sizable section at that, where bargains can be had, presumably from owners who have decided not to go.  This morning, for instance, an ad offered, "Double crypt in desirable section of Fester's Mausoleum.  Excellent views."

Desirable?  Views?  What is this person thinking?

When you live in a 55+ mobile home community, you quickly discover that the "+" means "pushing 90."  Here, all the amenities that Florida offers to the eternity-bound are concentrated, refined and polished.  At times, an air of expectancy wafts around the park like a spring zephyr.  Forest Lawn with shuffleboard.

On a quiet Sunday afternoon, ambulances cruise slowly around the park.  One enterprising driver recently added a set of bells, like a cross between Monte Python and the Good Humor man.  "Ding-a-ling, bring out yer dead!"  Honestly, you don't want to be caught dozing on a lawn chair in the front yard.

One might think the immediacy of mortality would cast a pall (if you will) over the park, but one would be wrong.  The place is more like a train station: everyone is cheered when the train finally arrives.  "Now departing for the pearly gates on track 9 . . . "  If you don't think this can be true, stop by one of the monthly community breakfasts at the rec hall.  "Damn shame about Sophie Carson.  Pass the maple syrup, would you.  Has anyone claimed her seat at bingo yet?"

If you ever doubted that death is just another part of life, start watching Florida's classifieds.  Down here, the hereafter is just another piece of real estate.


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