One day when I was in 8th grade at St. Alice School, I had a song stuck in my head, and that song was “Tragedy” by the Bee Gees. I don’t know if I heard it that morning before I went to school or what, but it was stuck in my head all day long. You know how that happens, right? The worst is when you get a song stuck in your head that you don’t like and it keeps playing over and over. But I liked that song at the time, being a Bee Gees fan and all…
But I couldn’t wait to walk in the door after school so I could sing it out loud since it was in my head ALL DAY LONG! We lived across the street from the school so I didn’t have to wait long. We had two entrances to the funeral home; one on the corner, where people would come for anything funeral related, and a “private entrance,” two doors over, where our family went in when there was a funeral in progress. A lot of times, though, after school, we would just walk in the front entrance to the funeral home because we knew there were no funerals going on, and even if my father was making arrangements with a family, we could walk in and go up the stairs without anyone knowing….that is, unless, of course, you walk in singing at the top of your lungs. Oops!
I no sooner closed the door to the funeral home that I belted out “TRAGEDY…WHEN THE FEELING’S GONE AND YOU CAN’T GO ON….IT’S TRAGEDY!”
I wasn’t even off the front porch when I saw my father storming towards me with murder in his eyes. I immediately panicked (I may have sharted). Keep in mind, when my dad was mad, he looked psychotic, as I’m sure many parents do. He had a crazed look in his eyes, and I knew he wanted me dead at that moment. He said in a yelling whisper, “I HAVE A FAMILY IN THERE!”
Stricken with terror, I think I apologized and ran up the stairs. I went into the kitchen and my mom was smiling as she saw the fear-struck look on my face. Of course, she had heard me, but Dad stopped me long before she had the chance to put out her cigarette and come downstairs. Did I tell you that my mom smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 40 years and then quit cold turkey? Who does that?
But to this day, I find this funny; in the midst of the fear of my father kicking my ass when he came upstairs, my mom said, “I love the irony of the song you were singing.”
Oh Cis, you’re a smart one! It didn’t get past her that I was singing “Tragedy” while a family was making funeral arrangements. Talk about timing! It never crossed my mind, but then again, I was too riddled with fear about my dad killing me later to even consider it. But can you imagine what the family must have thought? That had to be some really good comic relief, though, right? Imagine sitting there picking out a casket, when, out of nowhere you hear a young, teenage voice singing a death anthem. Not that it’s a death anthem, but at that point, could you take it any other way?
Because of that experience, a new rule came about in the Donohue household; “ALWAYS USE THE OTHER DOOR!” Oh yeah, Dad wasn’t risking that mess again. From then on, EVERYONE had to use the other door. We were banned from using the front door unless we were absolutely, 100% positive that no funeral, funeral arrangements or any other funeral related activity was happening.
I, personally, think that’s a good theme song for funerals. Most deaths are tragic in some way, so why not?
Here is the song I sang (and sing) for all the dead, both past and future…because death, after all, is only in the present for what, a second? And then it’s in the past….but still in all of our futures.
The lyrics could totally be applied to a dead body!
Have a great day, you’re not dead yet! 🙂