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Sweet, but not funny?

October 18, 2010

This might be a touchy subject for some, but as I’ve become heartless in my old age, a eulogy is not a tough assignment.

I was recently asked to write one. I won’t go into the details, but when others found out I was getting the gig they said to me, “oh man, I don’t want to have to do that.” “I wouldn’t know what to say.” “I’ll end up crying.”

Perhaps, but that’s no reason not to give it a go.

The tough part of the assignment happened when the request was made that I try not to be funny. First of all, I’ve never tried to be funny. I just luck out and somehow the drivel that spews from my mouth contains some humor. But it’s rarely planned.

Instead of funny I was asked to be sweet. And there’s where the problem lies.

I have no idea how to do sweet.

Since my early years, I’ve often been asked, “Can’t you just be nice? Do something sweet for [insert family member or girlfriend name here].” I never know what sweet is. I can fake humility. I can be contrite, once enough time has passed – five days on average. Occasionally, I can pull off polite, but only if I don’t know the person very well. Sweet just baffles me.

I suspect sweet involves being nice. I know how to do that. I think there may be a dash of compassion, an emotional herb I tend to not have on hand. I have to assume there are a few more ingredients. My cookbooks all talk about sweeteners, but I have yet to find the market that sells an emotional Splenda.

When I try to pull off sweet, it seems to come off as, well, creepy. And no one likes creepy.

Now my mom, she’s good at sweet. She always seems to go over and above for my sister and I, our spouses, our cousins, our kids. I don’t know where she learned it. I suspect it was the class after “Motherly Catholic Guilt 101.” She aced that class.

I’m told there have been occasions when I did something sweet. However, I didn’t know I was doing it at the time. After the fact someone would comment on it, and my first thought was, “Nuts! I could have parlayed that into something!” But karma being what it is, it’s probably best that I never had an ulterior motive.

I’m going to hope that the muse of eulogies will grace me with some sweet inspiration. But if not, no worries, no one ever complained about a wake with a few laughs.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Martha permalink
    October 18, 2010 4:56 PM

    sweet Mike, not creepy. dont forget that. im sure you can find it in there somewhere under all those layers…. 🙂

  2. Erin Hensh permalink
    October 18, 2010 8:21 PM

    I have witnessed the sweet side of You- remember the 4-6 months when Michael and I were broken up and you single handedly got us back together and got us married? And yes, your sweetness tends to be in the form of brutal truth wrapped in sarcasm and deep fried in snarky comments…but anyone who knows u can see past the heart attack inducing bacon to the scallop inside, even if you can’t.

    • October 18, 2010 9:09 PM

      Wow! That was a fabulously written comment. And I don’t mean about me. I mean the analogy. Just awesome. I had no idea I was a scallop at heart, no wonder I never eat them, it would be cannibalistic. Thanks for the kind sentiment too. But I wasn’t trying to be sweet, I was just making sure things were put back where they belonged 🙂

  3. Myo permalink
    October 18, 2010 8:27 PM

    I did the eulogy at my dad’s funeral this past May. I managed to get through it without crying (nobody thought I’d be able to…it wasn’t easy and I more than made up for it during the rest of the service).

    I don’t know about sweetness either. To me, people who are overly sweet come off as phony. I think sincerity goes a lot farther than “sweetness” any day.

    People should just follow the golden rule and also relax and be themselves. That’s what matters most!

    Also, I’m sorry for your loss.

    • October 18, 2010 9:10 PM

      Thanks. I think I’ll just be sincere and be myself. It’s really all I know how to be successfully.

  4. Erin Hensh permalink
    October 21, 2010 11:12 AM

    Hey Scallop ;-),
    I’m sorry to hear about ur grandfather- when u said you were assigned to write a eulogy I thought u meant for school…

    • October 21, 2010 7:34 PM

      Thanks kid. Yeah, not for school. But it went well. I don’t think Frank cried too much.

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