How Could I Get My Wife's Funeral So Wrong?

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Vol 41 Issue 10

Mysterious Defibrillator Saves Accident Victim, Disappears

SAN ANTONIO, TX—An unidentified defibrillator saved the life of heart-attack victim Clifford Moore, 67, and vanished without a trace, sources at Goode Company Barbecue reported Monday. "I was headed back for more condiments when I felt a terrible pain in my chest and collapsed," Moore said. "I think I must have passed out, but I remember feeling paddles on my chest and a sudden jolt. I wish that defibrillator would have stuck around... I would've liked to have thanked it." The only trace the phantom defibrillator left behind was a tiny, silver-adhesive-backed conductive pad found below an outdoor bench.

Script Could Use Another Pass, Mom Says

ANSLEY, NE—Persistence Of Vision, a screenplay by aspiring screenwriter James Grunau, "isn't quite ready to shop yet," Grunau's 57-year-old mother Doris told her son over breakfast Monday. "I know you worked really hard, Jimmy, but I think this could use another good punch-up," Grunau said of the 115-page draft. "I just don't think anyone will relate to Donna, and the second act feels flat. You need to raise the emotional stakes." Ms. Grunau then offered her son some butterscotch pudding.

Bar Bet Becomes Increasingly Complex

DETROIT, MI—Onlookers at Schutt's Tavern report that a bet between two customers grew to almost unworkable complexity Monday. "Okay, let's get clear on this," said bartender Tim Alighire, officiating the wager. "If Sin City doesn't suck, Roger has to join Gary's pool team instead of Keith's, but only if Gary gets Troy to join too, in which case Gary has to pay Roger's dues and Roger has to chip in for half of Troy's dues? And Troy... no, Gary gets to decide if the movie is good?" Watching his two customers shake hands, Alighire said he wished that hockey season hadn't been canceled.

The Edge Still Introducing Self As Such

MALIBU, CA—U2 guitarist The Edge, born David Evans, introduces himself by his stage name, sources reported Monday. "He showed up at parent-teacher conferences, extended his hand, and said, 'Hi, I'm Sian's father The Edge,'" said Dory Beckman, a second-grade teacher at Malibu Heights Elementary. "I didn't quite understand, so he said, 'U2's The Edge.' Well, I guess with all the records he's sold, he's entitled to call himself whatever he wants." Employees at Gladstone's 4 Fish restaurant said Evans placed "The Edge" on their waiting list when he took his family out for fried scallops last week.

'Me Decade' Celebrates 35th Year

NEW YORK—The "Me Decade," a period beginning in 1970 and marked by self-awareness and self-fulfillment, celebrated its 35th year Monday. "With careerism, materialism, and general self-involvement as popular as they were was decades ago, the Me Decade may well go on for another 35 years," said historian and Columbia University professor Dr. Vera Conklin. "It's been the longest-running decade in American history, beating the selfless 'Greatest Generation' of the '40s by a good 15 years. Selfishness, it seems, is here to stay." Author Tom Wolfe, who coined the term in his essay "The Me Decade And The Third Great Awakening," was unavailable for comment, as he is working on his memoirs.

Nationwide Headband Trend Traced Back To Area Sophomore

PIERRE, SD—As cotton athletic headbands, the season's hot fashion accessory, continue to appear on trendsetters' foreheads across the nation, the originator of the fad has finally been located: Pierre West High School sophomore Melody Peterson.

New Stop-Smoking Aids

Over-the-counter stop-smoking aids like Nicorette gum and Nicotrol patches are more popular than ever. What are some of the newest prodcuts on the market?

Study: Reality TV, Reality Unfair To Blacks

WASHINGTON, DC—According to a study released Monday by the Center for Media and Social Research, the reality-TV genre is unfairly biased against black people. The study revealed that reality is unfair to blacks, as well.
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How Could I Get My Wife's Funeral So Wrong?

Oh God, I never meant for it to turn out this way. All I wanted to do was give my beloved wife of 26 years a sincere and meaningful goodbye. She was the love of my life—a standard funeral ceremony just wouldn't do. But somehow, I managed to really screw it up. Geez, how could I get my wife's funeral so wrong?

My first mistake was the wake. I thought it would be a touching tribute to our love, but in retrospect, I see that the miniature-golf course where we had our first date was the last place I should have held the viewing. It wasn't the right atmosphere, what with all the cartoon-character obstacles and screaming kids running circles around the casket. And, when Fran's friends went up to share their personal memories of my wife, the outdoor roller rink next door started up with Classic Rock 'N' Roll Night. Everyone had to yell to be heard over the loudspeakers blaring Deep Purple, the Steve Miller Band, and .38 Special. Thank goodness the DJ finally announced couples-only skating and played some power ballads.

As I sat there thinking about all that Fran meant to me, I struggled to hold back the tears. I tried to maintain my composure, but it was hard to concentrate with the bank of video games right behind my chair. I don't think it was just me. When the guests offered their condolences, they seemed distracted by the flashing lights and spinning "High Score" screens.

How could I do something like this to my dear, wonderful Fran? I feel so stupid.

In my memory, that goofy Golfland where Fran and I stole our first kiss as high-school sweethearts will always be a perfect place. But, evidently, that neighborhood has gotten a lot worse in the decades since I first bought her a milkshake at the concession stand. I felt just awful for Mr. Jensen when I found out he got mugged on the way to his car.

Oh Fran, I'm just such a dunderhead sometimes!

The next day, the church service was even more awkward. I just wanted to honor Fran's lifelong love of Mexican culture. (We took a last trip to Puerto Vallarta just eight months before stomach cancer claimed her life.) But the 11-piece mariachi band barely fit in that dear little chapel where we were married. I saw a lot of scowls in those pews.

I finally asked the band to stop and handed them their pay, including a good-sized tip so they'd clear out fast. But there was a language barrier. And besides, I mess everything up. I don't know how it happened, I just know that instead of stopping, the band launched into the hat dance.

Oh, Fran! Can you ever forgive me? At the dinner in the church basement, I was the only one wearing one of the souvenir sombreros. The hot-and-spicy chimichangas were a bust—I had to take home 10 doggy bags—and the kids didn't even touch the Fran-shaped piñata. I should have known to call it quits, but after the memorial service and wake were such failures, I wanted to go all out for the burial. Fran, you always loved animals, and you spent so much time volunteering for that endangered-species group. I remember how you were particularly dedicated to the preservation of African wildlife.

I was sick with the agony of loss. Still, I should have paid more attention. I should have read the rental form in its entirety. Fran, my love, honestly, I had no idea the elephant came with a party package until it marched into the graveyard surrounded by a retinue of juggling clowns and costumed dogs. All it took was one look at my relatives' ashen faces to realize what an inappropriate choice I'd made.

Oh God, I'm simply no good at organizing things. If Fran were here, she'd have handled everything so much better. Fran, my beautiful darling Fran! I miss you so much! What will I ever do without you?

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