THE THREE TRACKS TO PLAY AT MY FUNERAL
I’m working on a last will and testament this week, which means that I have to check a box to indicate whether I’d like my body burned up in an oven, or dumped into a hole. While neither option sounds great, I’m actually torn up about this because my two primary scraps of ethnic identity both offer strong views on the subject. My Jewish heritage mandates burial, while my viking heritage suggests that I should be put on a burning longboat piloted to sail into an enemy’s wharfside furniture warehouse.
The latter sounds like more fun and is probably a more accurate reflection of my personality; the former is probably more achievable. But ultimately, frugality and current fashion trends among my peers suggest that my corpse will most likely be melted in a highly alkaline solution and then pressed into a vinyl LP that will eventually be lost in a move.
A lot of people* have asked me about the music I would want played at my funeral, or remembrance ceremony, or whatever they call it. As luck would have it, I have a few tracks that should be spun in my memory:
PRESSURE DROP BY TOOTS & THE MAYTALS
There are plenty of bad things about dying, and I’m sad about all the people I’ve liked and loved who have died. That said, on the “glass half full” side of things, death really clears out your calendar and helps you delegate. In as much as “getting away from it all” is the heart of what it means to go on vacation, death is the ultimate opportunity to disengage from our modern busy office environment, and reduce one’s commitment to social media.
HALCYON + ON + ON BY ORBITAL
One of my favorite concert memories was hearing Orbital fade from a particularly brutal live rendition of “Satan” into this track, a trick that is the audio equivalent of being delivered from a massive fire at a tire storage facility directly into a hammock slung between two coconut trees on Tahiti.
HOOVER FACTORY BY ELVIS COSTELLO
This is barely a song — it’s a trifle, it’s an artifact, it’s an accidental remainder. But it’s one of the loveliest things written by one of my favorite songwriters. If I’m going to go out on something musical, it may as well be something short and sweet. I always try to limit my public toasts to something clear, concise, and brief, and that seems like a fine way to wrap up my mortal affairs, too.
It’s probably worth clarifying at this point that my own death doesn’t seem particularly imminent. Of course, it rarely does, but that’s another essay entitled “If I’d Known I Was Going to Die This Week, I Would Have Finished Off the Cookie Dough and Not Mowed the Lawn.”
* Absolutely nobody.