Death Trumps All

We lost a really cool guy a few days ago, Dick Curry. I had met him a couple of times, he’s my brother-in-law’s dad, but his stories are pretty famous. In his obit in the LA Times today, it says:

He was a dedicated family man, a proud member of the East High School Alumni Association of Sioux City, Iowa, a reader of the classics, an inveterate traveler, a chronic punster, and a certified curmudgeon.

I was chatting with a friend about Dick, and added to the obit above, that he had a wicked wit. I can’t really write more about him since I didn’t know him that well, but heard, in talking about the logistics of a last minute scramble to LA by the Bay Area relatives, a phrase that was quoted by one of his son-in-law’s, another friend of mine, who has experienced two recent funerals in his family, that giving the excuse at work that you’re going to a funeral is immediately accepted and not questioned, and essentially, he said that “death trumps all.” Interesting to see a common theme in the bureaucracy of corporations, the effort to get more vacation hours, the constant battle to carve out more time for your family, the climb upwards on the ladder of your career, essentially is boiled down to a mortal fear of death. Is punning an attempt at using humor to escape the inevitable? If I’m laughing to my grave, that’s a far better way, at least.

I was hanging out with two of Dick’s grandkids yesterday, shopping for funeral clothes at a mall during Christmas time, that is surreal upon surreal. And his 8-year-old granddaughter said, “I’m dying to …” I can’t remember the little battle she was having with her mom. Eating lunch out? Going to the movie instead of a walk? A pun, in that situation, was probably the best way to remember her grandfather, as he was quite a chuckster, not at inappropriate times- well, didn’t know him perhaps well enough to know if he did cross the line that much. Knowing some of his kids, though, I tend to think that if it was funny, he might let the one-liner out.