Do I Offend?

It has been suggested to me that my last posting might offend some of my readers, which is certainly not my intent.

I have a very quirky, irreverent sense of humor. And I am, what I call on my résumé, detail-oriented. I notice the little details. And it is in these details that I find humor. In the instance of my last post, I actually was not calling into to question the belief many people have in the Eucharist nor was I mocking this belief. I am very much a live-and-let-live person and would never do this. What struck me was a detail that I had not seen previously: the priest taking the utmost care in making sure he did not leave even one crumb behind. This was not a quick shake of the plate; it was a painstaking effort to collect every morsel into his cup. This was where my attention lay.

In addition, as the Barenaked Ladies would say, “I’m the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral”. While I certainly never had the urge to laugh at my brother’s memorial service, I am the type who feels uncomfortable enough around grief that I sometimes find myself holding back laughter in these situations. Call it a stress release, call it a coping mechanism, but I am more comfortable when people are laughing.

The truth is, in maintaining this blog, I have frequently had to edit myself. I have wicked, cheeky thoughts about many of life’s details. Often I will have such a thought, think it would make a good blog entry, then think about my audience and decide against it. Sometimes I envy the freedom some of my friends have in their blogs because they have chosen to limit their audience. But this blog has always been intended to keep family and friends up-to-date on our goings-on, and I have tried to be respectful of my potential readers. Remarkably, the last post made it through my internal censors.

I have been struggling with this particular topic for a while now. How do I approach it? What do I say? Perhaps my last post was a feeble attempt at bringing it to the table. It didn’t seem to work. So, I figure keep it simple.

I was at a Catholic service last week because my brother died in a car accident early in January.

It has all been a very surreal experience. He lived in Florida, I live in California, the rest of the family lives in Illinois. For a variety of reasons, the memorial service in Illinois took place three full weeks after the accident. In the meantime, I went to work, went to WildCare, and generally carried on as usual pending the memorial; the only thing different was that I knew my brother was dead. I suppose it’s a consequence of the modern world where everyone lives so far apart, but it was really strange on the lack of closure front.

Fortunately, as my boss said, I can compartmentalize. For the most part, I live in the current moment, and don’t get too worked up about the future. When all my friends in high school were getting excited months before the prom, I really didn’t get excited until a day or 2 before. Another example: I was perfectly composed in the weeks leading up to my wedding. No nerves, nothing. I even felt I had time to go geode hunting with my Dad two days before the wedding. After the rehearsal dinner, I threw up in the restaurant bathroom and couldn’t sleep all night.

So, I was able to continue on with my daily routine fairly well until I was finally able to take my bereavement time from work.

All of this is to say that I am sincerely sorry if anyone was offended by my observations. It was simply a detail in which I was able to find a bit of humor in a terrible situation.

However, last night I found a better detail to focus on. I was driving home and heard some new version of My Way on the radio. I was suddenly transported back to my brother’s wedding reception with the karaoke machine. He sang My Way and I think everyone there, and everyone at his memorial, would agree that, for better or worse, he really did things his way.

I’ve uploaded a clip of this to YouTube for those interested.

To all my readers, commenters and lurkers alike, I hope I can say “no offense” and you can reply “none taken”.