Mr Grumpy . . 26th July, 2018

I went to a funeral today.
I hate funerals, but at least I was looking at the coffin, not the lid inside it. That’s the most positive way of approaching a funeral: all this talk of celebrating life and wearing bright colours is rubbish: it’s a bad day from any angle, unless you hated the contents of the coffin and stand to inherit a fortune, in which case it’s a double whammy, and — for sure — wear a tasteless Hawaiian shirt and slip the organist a tenner to play Ken Dodd’s Happiness as the curtains close.
I’m a bit of a coward at such things. I could stare anyone in the eyes and sack them for being useless, and ignore cries for leniency as I tip the contents of their desk into a bin bag, but if I went to the same person’s funeral, my lip would be wobbling. Not because I’d been so ruthless, but the event opens up wounds and gets the mind racing.
Yes, it’s a bit selfish, but today, much though I was gutted to lose Steve, I probably spent more time thinking about the past and previous losses and my own mortality. 
I try not to look at the coffin as it comes in, listen to the lyrics of the song, sing the hymn (I mime better than BeyoncĂ©) or concentrate on what anyone is saying. 
Today, my eyes were fixed on the window (needed a bit of a clean, and I spotted few cobwebs) and tried to think about the currency exchange rate (I need some euros) but when I heard his kids crying, I was off like a blubbering sealion.
I thought of the suddenness of losing my father, in a car crash as I flew out on my honeymoon, and then mum, as her beloved pet dog licked her hand; albeit followed by the awful realisation that the damn animal would be coming to live with me… And a couple of years ago my pal known as The Scots ****, who possibly didn’t realise how much I thought of him. 
As the organist bashed away (I’m sure they make most of it up as they go along) I was lost in a memory of watching Roger Waters play The Wall. Every time I go up to Scotland, I think of him wittering on about hating the English (although we have a suspicion he was born here but moved across the border when the midwife identified him as trouble) and when “the boys” reconvene for a drink, we raise our glasses and sometimes place the Scottish flag on a chair. 
We toast him every round, which proves we really liked him. I hope he felt the same about me.
Today, I wanted to get away as soon as possible. It was a burial so flashbacks to Frankenstein filled my head, mainly because (mercifully), I couldn’t see or hear anything.
I’d tried to avoid the “wake” but felt obliged because I knew I was “on the list” whereas the less favoured — and clearly without even an outside chance of inheriting even a stamp collection (might have a Penny Black in there) — walked towards the bus stop. 
Plan was to make my presence known, then bugger off back to work (Monday is so busy) but the pies looked fab, so I got a tiny bit fatter and closer to death myself at Steve’s expense.
My last memory of him was us staggering to a bar in Manchester (supposedly working) and me asking what he wanted, with him replying: “I’ll have two double vodka oranges please” and my look of amazement getting the response of “…it just saves time…”
All this made me proud that — for once — I’ve been something like a responsible adult by having more life insurance than Mrs G and the kids could possibly need to keep assorted home-delivery vans in business, but also made me think about …. a snake.
A few weeks ago, the Press carried a story about a bloke who used a shovel to decapitate a rattlesnake in his back yard (obviously American, not from Coronation Street) but 10 minutes later, screamed as the head bit him, requiring 20 life-saving injections. 
Experts, paid fortunes to study useless things, say the body can reflex in a controlled manner for up to an hour.
This makes me think that if my consciousness or “soul” has been with me for the 110 years I hope to live before I croak it (hopefully not by decapitation) that it truly might not die with my aged body. 
I’m not hoping to be able to stagger around like a zombie, chasing Mrs G around the bedroom one last time, but that my soul may well float up somewhere, be it heaven or maybe even just around the Manchester Arena or Apollo, so I get into concerts for free. 
I wouldn’t fancy being able to see some other bloke chasing Mrs G around my bedroom (after a considered period of mourning, of course), not least because he might use that life insurance money to buy himself a Porsche.
I felt bad for all the things I’ve done and said and hoped — come the day — the place would be packed for me, too, with people queuing up to say nice things (with the inevitable degree of artistic licence). Not least the Chron editor, who I have every intention of haunting.
 

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