3 Jul 2006
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend over the phone about stuff that I cant really remember. Anyway the conversation swerved to the topic of freaky people doing advertisements and the ensuing dialouge went something like this:
me: How about Ernie Baron the weather man?
friend: What about him?
me: God damn that face is freaky. Everytime I saw him in his super antenna commercial I just get the chills. He cant even stare at the camera directly.
friend: It's because he's "banlag".
me: I didn't say he isn't. I just said he's freaky because of that.
friend: I think we shouldnt be making fun of him, he's already dead.
me: What the hell?
At this point, I'm already in shock. I really didnt know the guy was dead (Ernie Baron, not my friend). Apparently he died during the first quarter of this year. Incidentally, the first three months of the year I was stationed in Hong Kong due to work. There, the biggest news of the day is some councilor refusing to go to work, and the occasional man ending up with a broken hip because he fell off a hiking trail. BORING. I'm not making this up, I swear.
The closest thing to news about the Philippines I get is in the form of the latest FHM being brough to us by officemates who do short trips. And I can guarantee you FHM isn't the best source of the latest "scoop".
So anyway, I asked my friend how Ernie Baron died.
me: So how did he die?
friend: I think it was stroke or heart attack.
me: Hahahaha. Maybe it's one of his inventions and miracle diets.
friend: Dude, we really shouldn't be making fun of him, he's dead.
me: I think that's better, you know libel and slander can't be placed by dead people. Apparently by law, your credibility dies along with you.
friend: Have I told you how tasteless you can get sometimes?
me: What's wrong with joking about dead people? Does humor die along with them too?
friend: This is BS.
That pretty much ended the drive for conversation for me. Apparently my humor has become tasteless. Because it had dead people in it.
So we come to the issue of respect for the dead. Come to think of it, what is "respecting the dead?" Maybe occassionally including them in prayers, offering masses for them, burning money if you happen to be chinese, burning dried leaves if you happen to be a drug lord, being waxed and placed in a glass case if you happen to be dead dictator with an obnoxious wife, making pruprotedly miracle-inducing handkerchiefs with your image if you happen to be a 2000 year old crucified carpenter - what else?
Oh yeah, NOT MENTIONING THEM IN JOKES AND AVOIDING THEM AS TOPICS OF CONVERSATION FOR THAT MATTER. Now that's bull. I think the best way to preserve a memory of a person is through a happy mood. And what mood can be happier than to be part of humor?
If you know a friend and then suddenly that friend becomes rich and powerful but he decides to go have a drinking session with you again, wouldn't it be disrespectful to suddenly change your outlook towards him by keeping the topics strictly about money and corruption and the most expensive stripclubs in town? That's how it is for dead people.
I think if we really respect the dead, we should not let something as trivial as not being able to breathe and having maggots eat parts of their flesh change our outlook towards them as when they were still breathing.
That's how I want to be respected so that's how I show respect. I'm sure if there are indeed ghosts, they have humor too. And I'm sure they'd appreciate the occasional laugh, since I think if you're already a ghost, lifes an joke that gets really old quickly, specially when everybody keeps turning your routine into a horror movie by screaming in your face everytime you show them your new threads.
To be fair, if you happen to be dead already but are still reading this, I have also have a joke for you. But since you can't answer back to my joke, I'll have to play your part too.
me: Knock Knock.
dead guy: Who's there?
me: Not you anymore.
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