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Planning on pre-planning

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Twice in the last two days, now, I’ve received in the mail two separate letters about pre-planning for my demise. Is the Grim Reaper lurking outside my house, or is it simply my demographic profile?

You’re sixty-four. High time to face facts: Unless you take the bull by the horns, you can’t afford to die.

The tone of both letters is solicitous but implicitly scolding: Of course you don’t want to think about death, you schmuck, but do you really want to compromise your family?

“Dear Friend,” begins the first letter. (“Friend” is appropriate, I assume, given that we’re all in the same boat, the one bound for oblivion.) “We need your help…In order to assist with sensitive, caring and professional help when people are in need, we need to know the real thoughts and feelings of individuals just like you.” Individuals just like me, meaning those who will die some day?

To better to plumb my real thoughts and feelings, they’ve put together a survey, simple (all Yes or No or multiple-choice answers) and to-the-point:

“If you have given thought to this subject, which of the following would you choose for yourself? Burial, or Cremation.” (And if you haven’t given thought to it, start now, ya big ox!)

“How important to you personally is the location (proximity) of a Cemetery?” About as important, I’d say, as the location of a lunatic asylum: Not in my neighborhood. In truth, the location won’t concern me if I’m the one buried there, which is probably not what they’re getting at.

I’m completing the survey and sending it back, as they’ve promised me an “absolutely free” Final Wishes Organizer to be delivered in return. Maybe now I can get organized, at last.

My other letter goes the first one better, offering two “absolutely free” books, a “10 Things Everyone Should Know” guide, plus one called “Imagine.” The sender is in California but has three convenient local affiliates here. This one doesn’t bother with a survey, but just assumes that I’m not so inconsiderate as to leave my family in the lurch. Their FREE information will put me “in control,” and also show me how to “add personality to (my) service and make it a real celebration of life,” one I won’t be able to attend. Leave ‘em laughing, in other words.

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