Write Your Obituary Now, A Grave Issue

Write Your Obituary Now A Grave Issue

The local obits are not the Op-Ed page of the NY Times and the last thing the copy editor is expecting is a fabricated obituary from some deranged psychopath.

Cynical senior urges baby boomers to write your own obituary now, the last thing you want to do is to leave this tedious chore to a grieving spouse or family member with a poor memory and no imagination or sense of humor. The following is a classic example of this:

Mrs. Cohen, an elderly Jewish woman’s husband’s dies.  Mrs. Cohen calls the obituary department at the local paper and asked the cost of an obituary notice and is told the rate is one dollar per word.  She replies, “Cohen died.”  Mrs. Cohen is informed of the five-word minimum and says; “Cohen died, Cadillac for sale.”

Cynical Senior recommends the local newspaper’s “Enhanced Obituary Package,” it costs more but the potential for abuse is huge and your dead anyhow, so what do you care. This package allows the insertion of a computer-enhanced photo of yourself or anybody else you think looks great. The obit copy editor has no idea what you look like so anything goes. The selection of the enhanced photo is important because this is the last look most folks will get of you. 

English is a wonderful language, and can easily be manipulated to insert a variety of misleading information or cryptic messages into your obit. The use of meaningless acronyms can add a nice touch. Make up combinations of capitalized letters, e.g. VRBA or HORS, and make yourself a past president or man of the year of the fictitious organization. The local obits are not the Op-Ed page of the NY Times and the last thing the copy editor is expecting is a fabricated obituary from some deranged psychopath.

The embellished obituary text is critical and should include misrepresentations and blatant lies to enhance your:


  • Prime Minister of Bakua
  • Worked with Dr. Salk to cure polio
  • HKR, Woman of the Year
  • Past president of The KEGL, The LIARA and NDATA
  • Speech therapist for Martin Luther King


  • 3rd cousin of Queen Elizabeth II
  • Direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson
  • Community service
  • Selflessly donated countless hours helping crippled retarded children
  • Founder HORS
  • Saved the lives of millions of African children as Pres of the ADRGA


  • Will be sadly missed by his dear friends Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor
  • Cherished his friendship with the late John Wayne
  • Enjoyed late night phone conversations with President Bush (not necessarily something to be proud of)

Sporting life

  • BUTAS Bass Fisherman of the Year
  • Advisor to George Steinbrenner during baseball season
  • Member “Emeritus” Dale Earnhardt’s pit crew

These are Cynical Senior examples, but let your imagination run –the sky the limit.

Unfortunately, newspapers expect you to be dead to appear in the obits, “All obituaries require verification through a funeral home, crematorium, mortuary or coroner=s office.” This is a problem if you want to amuse yourself by submitting an obit as a birthday gag for a baby boomer buddy or an imaginary friend.  This hurdle can be overcome however. There has apparently been rampant obit abuse in the past and the phenomenon actually has a name, “premature obituary.”  Wikipedia has a page devoted to the subject, which includes the infamous comment by Mark Twain, “The report of my death is an exaggeration.”

And last but not least, don’t forget to lie about your age-why not-nobody is going to check the public records and you can imagine the reaction of friends saying how “great she looked for her Age.” 

Obituaries are not normally amusing reading but with a little imagination and deceit you can change this sad reality. Good luck.

Clarence Darrow: “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”

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