Truly a Tragedy!

ummm....hair on the left?

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?

The door all the way to the right is where we had to go in from then on!

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! 🙂

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About Death To Hollywood

My name is Celeste Donohue and I am a writer/comedian who started this blog to tell stories about my life growing up in a funeral home and my adult life which I have spent in Hollywood, California – hence the name, “Death To Hollywood”. Hopefully, you like to read those kinds of stories. If not, go read something serious and boring.....
This entry was posted in catholic church, death, family, funeral home, funerals, weird and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Truly a Tragedy!

  1. Luke Hanbury says:

    I’m dead from reading this almost. My favorite entry yet, pretty sure. So funny. My mom used to think the Bangles sang “just another man named Monday.”

  2. Kristen Himm says:

    When I lived in Virginia, there were snipers killing people. One day, a radio station announced the latest killing, then played “Another One Bites the Dust” It was a total accident as the playlist had been preselected days earlier, but people were outraged! I thought it was pretty amusing and parallels your story nicely!

  3. chris says:

    I love that song

  4. the elder sister says:

    Oh Cee!!! I forgot about that story! That’s so funny and ironic, I know our family would have laughed if we were the one’s making funeral arrangements and heard that!

  5. Chris says:

    Laughing my ass off… some how mid-way through reading, I saw this happening… ONLY YOU! and I love your mom’s reaction. I’m starting to see where you get your sense of humor!!

  6. Maddie says:

    Great story, Cee! Knowing all the characters, I can picture this like it was yesterday. Good irony, and I loved hearing the song at the end. It’s true the Bee Gees sounded like they were on helium.

  7. Kris says:

    I love that mom couldn’t put her cigarette out fast enough!!!!! Hahahaha. I remember that story and can picture dad’s psychotic eyes coming at you……tragedy….when the feelin’s gone:)

  8. SR says:

    This was so funny. Thanks for sharing your childhood memories. God Bless, SR

  9. mdonohue says:

    Dad was usually more bark than bite,and super sensitive when a family was there.He go t over it,and laughed about it later,maybe five years later.I actually thought it was appropriate and,I bet the family didn’t even think about it.Love,Mom

  10. klpeach323 says:

    Haha nice post, very funny!

  11. Kal says:

    A great story! I suppose singing “Stayin’ Alive” at the top of your lungs would have also garnered the same response…

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