At the Funeral for Debbie Downer
"At the Funeral for Debbie Downer"
Copyright 2013 by Samantha Peters. All rights reserved.
Chatty Cathy bounced on the balls of her feet, attempting to mask her antsiness as an reaction to the cold, but it wasn't really that cold. She had bundled up anyway, since the only black clothes she owned were scarves and jackets and thick wool pants. All the other women there were wearing modest dresses, but Chatty Cathy wasn't a fan of dresses. Nosy Nancy had pointed out to her right before the funeral started that, yet again, she was the only woman in pants. "What's up with that?" she asked, completely forgetting about what decade they were all living in. "Why do I never see you in anything that shows your shape?"
Chatty Cathy had begun to explain that her new workout and diet regime wasn't going well, on account of the sloppy directions and cardboard-tasting food, but Nosy Nancy had already moved on to Picky Pete's demands to sit on the left side of the coffin, and not on the right, because it was bad luck or something. Chatty Cathy was not offended. Picky Pete was like that last piece of thick dark chocolate at the bottom of the candy bowl, and Nosy Nancy had zero willpower.
They were all standing there now, a small but tight-knit group of friends, gathering together to honor their dearly-departed friend. All except for Tardy Tammy, who so far was running ten minutes late, despite Cathy telling her an earlier time. She wanted to go ahead and start, because Picky Pete's face was already a deep shade of furious rose and she knew how hard he was to come back from a temper tantrum, but Polite Petunia requested they wait.
"I know Tammy has time-telling difficulties, but she deseves to pay her respects as well as any of us," Petunia pointed out. "You would want us to wait for you, if you were late."
"Maybe," Cathy said, not wanting to commit to answering that. "I just have the perfect eulogy ready and I want to strike while the iron is hot, you know? And we can't have Pete throwing a tantrum."
"Maybe," Petunia repeated, equally not wanting to commit to an answer. "So let's just give her another five or ten minutes, how's that?"
"I wonder where she is," Nosy Nancy said, half-muttering but mostly loud enough for everyone to hear. "This is a funeral for Heaven's sake! What, was she in a car accident? I hope so, I mean I hope she's okay, naturally I wish her no harm, but that's the only excuse you could have to be late to a funeral. I mean let's have some tact, for crying out loud. No offense, Tim."
"None taken," Tacky Tim replied, adjusting his rainbow suspenders.
"I think this is just a particularly difficult time for her," Polite Petunia said.
"It's difficult for all of us," Chatty Cathy interjected. "Death is a difficult thing. I even say so in my speech. Should I go ahead and have a practice run, to make sure everything runs smoothly once Tammy does appear? I'd hate for there to be any more interruptions. A friend of mine once went to a funeral that last six hours because of all the hold-ups. Father of three, can you imagine? The littlest one didn't even have a clue what was going on. He just say there in his little suit, staring wide-eyed at the casket, not comprehending why his father just didn't get up and laugh about it all. Things like that scar children for life. That poor little boy will probably have mental problems. I'm just so happy there aren't any kids here."
"Deb didn't want any," Nosy Nancy said sadly. "She kept on saying she did, but that getting pregnant was so hard, and then she thought her baby would die of SIDS or choke on his own vomit or something."
"Oh, that poor dear," sniffled Petunia.
"Well all you have to do is lay a baby on his back with no blankets and whatnot in the crib," Picky Pete said. "And as far as vomit goes, just don't overfeed your baby and they won't vomit. I have raised five excellent models of decency and not one of them ever vomited. Not once."
Nosy Nancy checked her watch. "This is ridiculous. Should I call her? I should call her, you know, just to make sure she's okay at least."
But before anyone could respond to that, a loud honk broke the calm wind around the graveyard and they all turned around to see Tardy Tammy speeding up in her little black Geo, waving her hand out the window and calling out, "Hold up! Hold up! I'm here!"
"It's about time," muttered Picky Pete.
It was still another three minutes before they began, because Tammy hadn't put on her shoes yet or brushed her hair and then she left her engine running and had to go back and turn off her car, then she realized the lights were on and she had to go back again, and Nosy Nancy wondered why she had her lights on in the first place, since it was a rather sunny day. Finally, Tammy took her place next to Picky Pete and Chatty Cathy began.
"Time is a tricky thing. We seem to have so much of it we don't know what to do with ourselves, yet before we know it, it's gone. We must practice the art of saving time, of using it, of not wasting it away on worry or regret, because this is the only way to live life to the fullest. Our dear friend, Debbie Downer, never had the chance to do that. The trials and tribulations of life weighed down on our dear friend, despite constant pleading from those of us who loved her to relax and let go. But, for every gray cloud there is a silver lining, and in Debbie's case, she always remembered those tiny details the rest of us would forget. It was Debbie who called me every morning when it rained to remember my umbrella. It was Debbie who would send me emails two weeks before my car registration was due. It was Debbie who saved us from that roller coaster catastrophe and it was Debbie who stopped us all from drinking too much every New Year's Eve. Now that we are without her, we may have fun, yes. We may relax more, true. But without Debbie we are now sitting ducks, just waiting for whatever mishap of chaos life has in store for us. So it is with a heavy heart and saddened soul that I commit Debbie Downer to the ground, and God help us live without her, for we will need all the help we can get."
A rumble of "amens" coursed through the small crowd, and one by one Debbie's friends tossed fake roses into the hole, and left their solemn friend behind.