A few months ago I wrote a blog about a very inappropriate funeral eulogy. I thought I'd revisit that today. Years ago, I remember a monologue, something I think was done by Peter Cook or Dudley Moore back in the sixties. I still have a copy of it in storage somewhere. It's a father explaining to his son about the unusual circumstances of his mother's death. I thought I'd take a cue from that and play around with the theme.
“Thank you, Reverend O’Connell, for that kind introduction. I would usually say that it’s nice to see you all here today, but under the circumstances… well, we are all here to mourn the loss of our dear friend Peter. The last week has been difficult for all of us, not only with his death, but with all of the press attention over what else happened. Let’s just remember Peter today.
I first got to know Peter back in our school days. He had a zest for life even back then, and a knack for getting into trouble. Sometimes we’d get caught, and sometimes we didn’t. The shop teacher, Mr. Warren, never figured out how his station wagon ended up on the roof of the school, as I recall, and let me tell you, it took a lot of effort from ten guys to dismantle that whole thing and get it up three flights to the roof. Smitty, Brian, I see you’re in attendance today. You two remember how much work that was? I’m glad that Old Man Warren isn’t here today to attend this funeral, because I’d have some explaining to do, God rest his bitter tobacco stained soul.
Peter always loved to push the limits. He used to say there was no such thing as going too far. In fact, that explains his five former marriages. Julianna, Elektra, Ophelia, Francesca, and Babe, I see you’re all here. I must say that I’m surprised by your presence, what with the way your marriages to Peter ended. Admittedly, he wasn’t a very good husband, or a good example of how to be a husband. Peter was the sort of fellow who always had a wandering eye. Sometimes that wandering eye would lead him to his next wife, often times not. His dear widow was the last in that line. I remember, Marlene, how Babe’s marriage to Peter ended when she walked in on you and Peter naked in that hot tub during her sister’s wedding reception. Oh, wait… I really shouldn’t be bringing up such upsetting memories. Well, Marlene, rest assured that Peter hadn’t had a chance to let his wandering eye go wandering before the unfortunate events of his death. At least that I know of.
My lovely wife Jane has always wondered why I could be friends with Peter. Well, you have to stand by your friends. Even if they’re colossal wankers… oh, maybe I shouldn’t use that kind of language in a church. Well. Anyway, Peter and I grew up together, got into trouble together. Sure, there were times he could be a self-absorbed jerk, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t be friends.
You know, he was a man who liked things to be just so. He’d stop in at the coffee shop each day on his way to work. Always liked a hot cup of espresso. How could he have seen that on one specific day, that cup of espresso would set into motion a chain of events that would… well, it would trigger everything that followed?
From what we’ve learned from the police, he swerved to avoid a pretentious git in one of those Mini Coopers coming onto the road. Anyone who drives a Mini Cooper is a pretentious git. Maybe it was Peter turning the wheel a bit too sharply. Maybe that’s what sent the espresso falling from the cup holder onto his legs. I know how I’d react if I had steaming hot liquid anywhere near the family jewels. Well, however it happened, he lost control of the car. Peter drove the BMW right through a farmer’s market. That would have been tragic enough, what with all of the people in his way that he inadvertently killed or maimed. Forty three dead, from the last official count.
No, for some reason we’ll never be able to understand, the car kept in motion, even after driving through all those people. From what the police have figured out, Peter was still trying to get the car under control at this point while fumbling with his steaming hot wet pants, soaked with delicious espresso. Knowing Peter, he was probably cursing like a trooper the whole time. He cut off a tour bus of nuns and orphans, sending that off the cliff into Last Chance Canyon. Another fifty six people dead, many of them with those unbearably cute orphan faces.
But that wasn’t the end of our Peter. No sir, not at all. Despite all of the damage he had already done with the car, somehow it managed to stay on the road past Last Chance Canyon. Maybe it was pure dumb luck. Bad luck for those nuns and orphans, and bad luck for all of those poor people back at the market, but dumb luck nonetheless.
No, Peter’s trip wasn’t quite done at that point. From the traffic cameras which somehow survived the impending conflagration, we know that he nearly hit an old man smoking on the sidewalk. He slammed through a gas station, where by some sheer trick of fate, the car hit the gas tanks, setting off a fuel explosion as he passed through. Well, we can’t really put all the blame for that on Peter. There was the old man who was smoking too close to the station, and, well, fuel does ignite. Little did we know until later that it was Old Man Warren. SmalI world, huh? I guess smoking really was the death of him, just not in the cancer sort of way that you hear about in all those public service ads.
It would have been bad enough that the gas station went up. I mean, there were four other cars there, the attendants, and Old Man Warren. Nine people went up in smoke like a Roman candle. I imagine that Peter must have been looking through his mirror at that moment, wondering how he had survived that, thinking of how much his insurance rates were going to go up. No, that wasn’t where it ended. The fire from the explosion set off the nearby gas mains. Four blocks went up in an inferno. Can you imagine, four whole blocks? Well, of course you can. You’ve been seeing it on the news all week.
Somehow... in some way, the BMW was still moving. Must be built pretty good, let me tell you. But Peter still didn’t have control of the thing. He ran another bus off the road, which ran a tractor trailer off the road. Both of them slammed into the town hall, where the mayor and council was having its latest meeting, and where a group of the Daughters Of The Revolution were gathered. Long story short, we’ll have to rebuild the town hall. And elect a new mayor and council. And replenish the Daughters Of The Revolution. After the fire department is finished combing through the rubble.
Poor Peter. Here he is, in an out of control car, seeing all this devastation and carnage around him as he’s speeding to his doom. He must have wished he’d called in sick that morning. But even after all that, it still wasn’t done for Peter and his runaway BMW.
No, he managed to somehow stay on the road, but slammed through over a hundred visiting French cyclists who were touring the area. Needless to say, the French government is very unhappy with our country in general and Peter’s family in particular. And we all know how snotty the French can get.
After that... that’s when the end was near. Peter finally came to a halt, the BMW slamming into a stone wall in the park. The long terrifying ride was over... but not quite. Witnesses near the scene saw Peter manage to stagger out of the car, bloody and bruised, with a lap full of espresso on his pants. It is possible that he lost control of his bladder... I mean, we can’t blame him after all he went through. He seemed to be looking around, confused... and that’s when the burning sign from the gas station finally fell back to the ground, hitting Peter. Either that’s really bad luck or really good aim.
What a way to go. I know in the last few days, there’s been a lot of blame thrown around at Peter. 1739 people wounded, 874 people killed. All because of an out of control BMW driver and a fallen cup of espresso. But I think the blame doesn’t fall on Peter. I think we all know where the blame should fall, on the person who set it all in motion.
On that pretentious git in the Mini Cooper."