Can a price be placed on one’s eternal rest? Last night, I found myself pondering that very question. I believe I answered it too. In my case, about $1,600 should do the trick!
I’d gotten a head start on the afterlife last summer, when I purchased a gravestone from my old camp buddy/victim, Zero Moskowitz. For just north of $1,600, I bought a beautiful granite specimen engraved with the design and words I’d faxed to him. Zero said he’d never before seen a customer ask for delivery of a finished tombstone prior to his actual demise. But as I explained to him, when I buy something tangible, I like to have the evidence in hand.
My stone was on backorder for months. Last week, I received a call from Zero advising of its completion. Me being me, I decided to surprise the Mrs. by arranging its delivery to and unpacking on our front porch. You’d think I’d know better after eleven years of marriage!
The tombstone arrived yesterday, and the hours since have brought me anything but peace. Never mind my eternal rest; unless and until those nagging me have their way, I won’t get any respite whatsoever!
The negative feedback started less than an hour after the gravestone’s unveiling, when my sister-in-law brought over a package for Sophia. After lacing into me yet again for Wednesday night’s unfortunate penis pen fiasco, Gina noticed the decorative addition to our porch. She promptly volunteered to grab a shovel and dig a hole for me in the backyard!
Later that day, I found a communiqué in the mailbox from our HOA’s manager. The notice advised that a tombstone constitutes an “Improvement” under the rules governing modifications to the exterior portions of a residence. According to the missive, I must either remove the offending item from display or request permission for its continued presence from the Architectural Design Committee, which “most certainly will deny said request!”
Of all the complaints, none seemed more heated than Sophia’s, and not just because of the gravestone’s prominent placement. She reserved her greatest displeasure for its content, informing me in no uncertain terms: “Get rid of that thing or else, dumbass!”
I still can’t piece together how it happened, but there’s no denying I inadvertently faxed Zero the joke gravestone design I’d scribbled as a lark while contemplating my real wording. Though I think it’s a riot, I can appreciate why this message would leave Sophia in such a lather:
Here lies Richard Stern,
Had a lesson he failed to learn.
Don’t piss off an Italian wife!
I spoke to Zero this morning. He graciously agreed to replace my gravestone … once I send him a check for another $1,600, of course!