by David McElroy
Everybody’s read an obituary from time to time. They generally tell who died and what family the person left behind. Despite how unloving and fractious most families are, most death notices refer to “loving” spouses and children. They’re not the most honest accounts of life.
For one man in a suburb of Denver, that wasn’t good enough. When Michael Blanchard died, he wanted something a bit more truthful to leave behind, so he wrote his own death notice, saying, “Weary of reading obituaries noting someone’s courageous battle with death, Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.”
The death notice — complete with a notation about which relative can “kiss his butt” — has become a viral sensation since it was published in the Denver Post nearly two weeks ago. (A Denver television station even did a story about the obit.) Here’s the complete text:
A Celebration of the life of Michael “Flathead” Blanchard will be held on April 14th, 3 pm 8160 Rosemary St, Commerce City. Weary of reading obituaries noting someone’s courageous battle with death, Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.
Mike was born July 1944 in Colorado to Clyde and Ethel Blanchard. A community activist, he is noted for saving the Dr. Justina Ford house from demolition and defending those who could not defend themselves. He was a Republican delegate, life member of the NRA, founder and President of the Dead Cats MC. He loved music.
Mike was preceded in death by Clyde and Ethel Blanchard, survived by his beloved sons Mike and Chopper, former wife Jane Transue, brother Stephen Blanchard (Susan), Uncle Don and Aunt Cynthia Blanchard(his favorite); Uncle Dill and Aunt Dot, cousins and nephews, Baba Yaga can kiss his butt. So many of his childhood friends that weren’t killed in Vietnam went on to become criminals, prostitutes and/or Democrats. He asks that you stop by and re-tell the stories he can no longer tell. As the Celebration will contain Adult material we respectfully ask that no children under 18 attend.
By the way, the “son” he mentioned named Chopper is a cat. I like this guy.
So what would your obit say if you wrote it yourself? Would it be a standard bio? Would you tell the world off? Would you tell the truth about yourself? Or something entirely different? I think mine would be a bit of a combination. I imagine it would go something like this.
David Michael McElroy died last night at the age of 134. Doctors had told him he’d never live past 120, but he had refused to go each time death knocked on his door for the last 14 years. He was a strange man who never quite understand most humans and was quite certain that almost nobody understood him.
He was always “that guy who’s wasting his life away” until he finally got married in late 2012 and subsequently had the family he had always wanted. Having a wife and children to feed focused his attention and gave him incentive to quit pretending that nothing much in life mattered to him. Nobody was quite sure how his loving wife put up with him, but she called him “an acquired taste who wasn’t nearly as crazy as you’d think.” Everybody else was just surprised that such a beautiful and brilliant woman married him and put up with him. His children never had a chance to be anything but strange and artistic troublemakers with no respect for the status quo. They grew up to become artists and intellectuals who took over the world in their spare time and then established a new colony of Mars.
In the middle of life, McElroy and his family bought an island in the South Pacific and established a resort community that was slowly built into a modern city and trading post between Asia and the Americas, making the family wealthy far beyond human dreams. Nobody dared attack or try to control this island nation, because it was protected by armed flying monkeys. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to care for the cats, dogs and monkeys he left behind.
So that’s my proposed obituary. What’s yours? What would yours tell about the life you hope to lead — at least the part that you want people to know about?