Guests file into the Iroquois room at the Downtown Marriott while a man playing an electric piano finishes a Bach toccata. There is an urn on a handcrafted oak table at the far end of the room. The music stops and the crowd quiets. A man begins to speak.
“Good morning, everyone. I’m Mr. Temple’s lawyer. Mr. Temple requested that I head the proceedings today in the event that his original choice for emcee, Tom Hanks, was unavailable. As Mr. Hanks has also passed, here I am.”
“I’ve been instructed to keep this very short, and I will try my best to do so. I’m sure many of you have some things you would like to say about the deceased, but Mr. Temple laid out very specific instructions about how this ceremony should proceed, and none of them include others sharing their feelings. Mr. Temple did express an interest in having Tom Waits perform the song ‘Young at Heart’, as Mr. Temple was certain he would die before Tom Waits. This is not the case however. He also asked that I simply read this prepared statement and play the accompanying video presentation.”
The lawyer clears his throat and opens a piece of paper.
“‘Dear people who came to see me dead; there is a very good chance that you and I had a strong bond — an important relationship. I never really found the time or the interest to get close to people, so the fact that you knew me well enough to attend this event points to the fact that you were one of the few special people in my life. I want you all to know that all the special times we had — all the indelible memories we created — pale to this.'”
A screen raises from behind the urn. A video plays.
The lawyer continues.
“‘The fact that I love this more than I love any of you is more my fault than yours, but that’s the way it goes. And now, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Tom Waits.'”
The lawyer trails off on the last sentence, clears his throat, then folds the piece of paper nervously. He nods to the piano player.
“Thank you all for coming.”
The piano player begins singing “Young at Heart”. It’s not as good as Tom Waits.
Print This Post