When a gentle-man reaches a certain age, he realizes that he must make preparations for the day he will finally pass from this world. For myself, that age was 66. Since I am now 132, I thought it only proper that I review my funeral arrangements, amending them if necessary. With this in mind, I sent for Beavers, my solicitor, thinking that and he and I could plan the required ceremony in a short hour or so.
Alas, it took some doing! It was not as simple as crossing out "horse" and writing in "auto-mobile carriage." After all, what sense does it make to have my favorite auto-mobile carriages stuffed, mounted, and buried in an antechamber of my golden ziggurat? I do not like auto-mobile carriages, let alone have a favorite! We were forced to cross out "auto-mobile carriage" and write in "Man-Servant Standish."
But that was far from the only change. The 21-gun salute over my grave had to be left out of my revised interrment-plan, as my standing army was dissolved by an act of Congress in 1911. This, naturally, rules out having all 21 Onion editors strapped across the bores of the cannons when they are fired. There will be no sulfurous cascades of bureaucrat flesh above my family-plot to mark the day of my passing. I will be the first Zweibel to ascend to my reward without one! My ancestors would be spinning in their graves, if only any of them gave half a thin shit for me.
Speaking of the Zweibel family plot, what gives the Republic the right to seize that sacred ground, gift it to a clan of itinerant syrup-merchants, and give it a cheap, carnival-prize name like "New Hampshire"? Back taxes, my brass fundament! They'd best give it back and quick, or I'll spill my list of 173 known homo-sexuals in Harding's cabinet!
Fortunately, the body of the ceremony is unchanged. I am still planning to lay in state on the floor of Congress for 30 days before being sent to the embalmer; I shall still be sealed in a great casket smelted from all the gold in the Western Hemisphere; and the Earth shall most definitely shake and be rent asunder when I am finally sealed in my tomb. Great underground reservoirs of blasting-powder have been secreted beneath each of the 44 states to accomplish this.
Having a son does put one in touch with what is truly important. N. Aeschylus was so moved by my funeral-planning that he is at this very instant digging a grave for me in the mansion court-yard. Precocious lad!
T. Herman Zweibel, the great grandson of Onion founder Friedrich Siegfried Zweibel, was born in 1868, became editor of The Onion at age 20, and persisted in various editorial posts until his launching into space in 2001. Zweibel's name became synonymous with American business success in the 20th century. Many consider him the “Father Of American Journalism,” also the title of his well-known 1943 biography, written by Norman Rombauer.