Today I turn my attention to my occasional series of inappropriate funeral eulogies. Incidentally, this is the sort of eulogy I'd give for my worthless idiot ex-brother-in-law. In fact, the stupidity, the workplace buffoonery, and the drunkenness? All classic Mike. If he ever meets a bad end, I may need an alibi.
“Thank you for that kind introduction, Reverend. When I’m done, you might want to think twice about that kind introduction, because in all honesty, and let’s be honest, because this is, after all a church... I really don’t have anything good to say about the deceased. I must say, I’m not quite sure why I was asked to give a eulogy for George. It’s not as if I would have wanted to be here otherwise. When I was asked to do this, I asked if there was someone closer to him to give the eulogy. Such as a friend. Well, as it turns out, George didn’t have friends. George’s attitude annoyed everyone around him. I’m not saying I hated the man, but, well... okay, I hated him. Just being honest here. If he’d been having a heart attack and asked me to use the phone to call an ambulance, I would have picked up the phone and ordered a pizza.
George’s ex-wife Janice asked me to do this. There she is, sitting in the front row, and I have to ask, Janice, why did we have to go through the bother of a funeral? The only people gathered here today are people who want to make sure George was dead. We could have skipped the service and just had him cremated, tossed the urn into the trunk of a car in a wrecking yard, and had it compacted. It would have been a win-win all ways around. Well, not so much for George’s ashes.
Well. We’re here anyway. So we might as well get it all done and over with.
What kind of man was George, anyway? How can we sum up his presence on this earth? Well, some words do come to mind. George was an insufferable, obnoxious, sanctimonious ass. He was an idiot. A knuckledragging vindictive bastard. An argumentative twit who thought he was right about everything and had no idea how stupid he really was.
George was the sort of fellow who insisted to anyone within ear shot that dinosaurs walked in the Old West with Davy Crockett. When you pointed out that dinosaurs and Davy Crockett and dinosaurs were separated by millions of years, he would shrug and say he didn’t believe that. When I asked why what he believed had more merit than the fossil record and extensive scientific knowledge, not to mention the entire actual history of Davy Crockett, he sneered and said I had no idea what I was talking about.
That’s the kind of man he was. Monumentally stupid but totally unaware of how stupid he was. I mean, honestly, you have some people in life who aren’t that bright, but they know that they’re not, they take it in stride, and in all honesty, they’re affable people. Easy to get along with. On the other hand, you get a guy like George, convinced he knows everything, convinced that dropping out after failing grade six four times was a good thing to do, and believing he’s right about everything. He’d say moose antlers could be used to generate electricity. That fish were influencing our very thoughts. That the world would be better off if we went back to measuring things by the onk. He never actually explained what an onk was.
Like I said... George was an idiot. Actually, calling him an idiot would be like calling Lake Superior a pond. Janice, I’ve got to say, I never understood how you managed to stay married to him for three months. He was a social misfit with appalling manners. This is the same guy who was beaten up by seventeen veterans for wiping his nose with a flag, and then asked what he did wrong. This was a guy who thought the salad fork could be used to take a cork out of a wine bottle. George would tell you that the proper way to set off fireworks involved a blowtorch and kerosene. Fortunately the fire department put that debacle out before the park gazebo could be burned to the ground.
He was also the sort who had no regard for people around him. We’re talking about the same guy who did six months in jail for stealing the poppy money from a coffee shop poppy box three days before Remembrance Day. His excuse? He couldn’t change a twenty, and he wanted a drink at the bar down the street. I mean honestly, you really can’t get much lower than that.
George was always in and out of work. And it was always someone else’s fault. He seemed to think that he should be the boss. It never once seemed to occur to him that in a workplace, you don’t start arguments with other employees, with the boss, with customers. No, he’d argue, never really grasping the notion that doing so was the reason he’d get fired. As for being the boss, two things never seemed to occur to him. The first was that he never had the competence to be in charge of anything. We are, after all, talking about a very stupid person with no skills or judgment. The second is that even when you’re a boss, you can’t yell at employees or customers just because you’re an argumentative prick and feel like taking out your issues on everyone around you. Word gets around, after all, and that puts you out of business. Incidentally, calling him an argumentative prick is another good way to describe the kind of man George was.
So George went through life without the personal insight to understand that he was the cause of his own problems. He was the reason his life was at a dead end. No, he’d be much more interested in downing a beer at the corner bar, griping about how everyone else was getting ahead in life and he wasn’t. It made him a bitter man. More so than he already was.
This brings us to the way he died. To be honest, I would have expected him to have drunk his way into the grave. Maybe it would have been alcohol poisoning. God knows the blithering idiot drank enough in his life to have his veins saturated with the stuff... and since he’s being cremated, I might suggest to the funeral directors that you might want to take into account all that excess booze in his body. Is that a risk to the crematorium? Anyway, I digress. I would have thought booze would have been the end of him. Driving drunk, perhaps. George always thought he could handle his liquor. How it is he was only arrested five times for driving under the influence is a marvel, and seriously, why no one revoked his license is a mystery.
As it turns out, booze did play a factor in the way he died.
We only have that one witness to tell us what happened. A hiker out in the woods. It seems George was out looking for a good place to fish around Blackfly Lake. He’d had a few too many beers that morning, according to the coroner, who managed to autopsy what was left of him. The hiker saw him at a distance, standing near a clifftop. He had something in one hand, and he seemed to be teasing it. The hiker realized it was a bear cub.
Now any smart person will tell you, when you see a bear cub, you leave it alone. You back away, you make sure the mother isn’t behind you, you get out of there. You do not approach it. You do not pick it up by the scruff of the neck. It’s just common sense. There are certain things in this life you just don’t do. Like eating at a place called Mom’s, or playing cards with a guy named Doc. Like I said.. common sense.
Well, George was never the sort of person to listen to common sense.
The hiker saw it all happen. Too far off to do anything about it, really. He saw the mother bear come out of the woods. The cub managed to wriggle free, ran off into the woods... and George turned to chase it... and that’s when he saw Mama Bear. The hiker actually heard him at a distance. George yelled in that sneering, condescending, totally dimwitted way that only George Dutton could say... so what’s your problem?
Hey, we can’t blame the mother. Everyone knows you don’t annoy mother bears. Everybody but George, it seems. The park rangers certainly didn’t blame that mother bear for what happened next. Particularly considering she didn’t bite George. She must have been tempted to,though.
No, instead George started blathering on. Whatever he was saying, the hiker didn’t hear, but we can all remember at one time or another George’s rants about politics, race, sports, or whatever was passing through what passed for his brain. Honestly, who among us hasn’t wanted to kill George? Reverend, I’m looking at you, and don’t tell me you don’t remember how he threw up on the Nativity scene outside last Christmas. See? Even Reverend Hannigan thought about killing him.
So there’s George ranting. There’s this hiker trying to approach and warn him off. And there’s Mama Bear, and she finally swats him. Well, George already being drunk, he stumbles back, and, well... there wasn’t any more rock to stumble back over. Just empty space. So there he went, two hundred feet down. The bear walked back into the woods, the hiker just stared in shock, and that was that.
The park rangers decided pretty quickly that the bear wasn’t a problem, so nothing was going to be done on that side of things. I mean, most everyone knows you don’t provoke bears. They didn’t say it in so many words, but let’s face it, they were thinking it: George had it coming.
So George- or what was left of George after he hit the bottom, was removed from the site. I’m sure there are bits and pieces of him still down in those rocks. And what was left of him is in that closed casket right here before us. And every last one of us here, are we going to miss him?
Of course not. We’re going to say good riddance.
I guess to conclude all of this... I can just ask the question. Can anything good be said about George Dutton now that he’s dead and gone? Probably not. The best I can muster is this. George, the world is a better place now that you’re dead. Primarily because you’re dead.
By the way, dumbass: despite what you persistently said time and again, the paranoid and crazy Korea isn’t South Korea, schnauzers are not guinea pigs, and three times seven does not equal vodka chasers."