Whenever someone hears that I grew up in a funeral home they usually say something like “Oh, like My Girl” or “Oh, like Six Feet Under.” I think the biggest similarity to either was that the little girl in “My Girl” was a hypochondriac… like me. Is that a genetic trait? My dad was too. I saw on Dr. Oz the other day that a sign of lymphoma is getting bruises but not remembering hurting yourself. I get bruises all the time and never remember how. Ever since I saw that show, I wondered what the symptoms are and if I have it. What is lymphoma?
Anyway, I remember one time, when I was living in Hollywood I had diarrhea for about 3 days. It was probably some mild food poisoning or something, I don’t know. But I was getting scared about it (aside from the brief weight loss) and was telling my dad. I told him I had no idea what it could be. Do you know what he said? He told me it was a symptom of AIDS. Now, my dad had a great sense of humor, but I don’t think he was kidding. He must have thought I was using dirty hypodermic needles or having really risky, dirty, alley orgies or something.
So that was weird, but at least my dad understood my fear when one night I was eating celery and I guess it was the crunching that gave me a pain in my head. Because I rarely get headaches, I started to think “Brain tumors start with headaches sometimes, or what if it’s an aneurysm?” I played out the whole scenario in my head. Collapsing on the floor, crawling to the phone to dial 911, laying there until they could break the door down because I’d be near death and couldn’t answer the door. Then, they’d carry me through my apartment complex on a stretcher with everyone watching, and all I could think about was how the ambulance ride will cost $3000 because I have no insurance.
I told my dad this story, he laughed and said, “The good news is that if it was an aneurysm, you’d be dead before you hit the floor.” And that would be good news since I don’t have insurance. Except that no one would know that I’m dead until the smell started to seep out of the apartment. I’d probably be dead for a week before my brother might wonder about me. I have a sleepwalking story to confirm that, but I’ll tell you about it later.
Back to the similar movie/TV show. “My Girl” had some similarities like the grandmother that lived with them. My dad’s mother lived with us until she died when I was about 12. I’ll tell you about that later too. There was just a lot more chaos and a couple of extra weirdos in my house than in that movie, but I did really like it.
My problem with Six Feet Under, even though I thought it was a really well-written show, was that the characters were so creepy. Michael C. Hall, who I LOVE as Dexter, played a really cold, weird, in the closet funeral director. My dad was really warm and funny and totally out of the closet. The other characters were so weird too that I didn’t relate to them. The mother on that show made my mom seem normal, and my mom is anything but normal.
A great movie that has to do with a funeral is “Death at a Funeral.” Not the remake with Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence because that was just a bad idea. The original film has a British cast and was directed by Frank Oz, who also directed “What About Bob?”, “Bowfinger” and “Little Shop of Horrors” to name a few. My whole family loves this movie, and you should see it based on my telling you. It’s hilarious. I wouldn’t steer you wrong when it comes to funerals.
Speaking of a death at a funeral, that exact thing happened at my house. While a funeral was in progress, someone dropped dead. Now that’s irony. Stay tuned for that story.