‘Just tell ’em that an old drunk at the bar wanted to give you his skull…’
So, my buddy Craig at the bar is around 60, and he is dying of lung cancer, as he has informed me that it doesn’t matter much to him. He never thought he’d live past 30. Sometimes, when he laughs too hard, he pulls his right arm in to the side of his rib in order to jostle his stomach back into place, because one lung is already gone, and sometimes he just needs to shift his organs around in order to get a bit more comfortable. Occasionally, when I see him pulling that arm in, and adjusting his internal organs, I ask him if he’s ok. And he always says, ‘Of course I’m ok. I just gotta shift things around a bit’.
Craig has become my favorite person at the bar. He can spot a Talking Heads song on the jukebox within the first subtle note of the song, but you’d never see it coming. And he laughs about death, always. While he’s pushing his stomach back to the right position, while the beer’s bubbles shift his stomach back into the not-quite-so-right position. He just laughs, and keeps reminding me: He never thought he’d live past 30.
One day, he casually mentioned that he has a perfectly round hole in his skull. He let me feel it, but warned me not to push too hard, because that hole led straight to his brain…and he’d rather not have me poking on his bare brain. Fair enough…
But he went on to tell me that the hole in his skull is just the exact perfect size for a fancy taper candle. And once he dies, he’d like nothing more than to give his skull to a friend so that they might turn it into a lovely, and perfectly fitting candle-holder.
(Now, in case you are wondering…the origin of the perfect candle-hole in his skull is up for debate. He thinks it was from running into a pipe whilst doing construction when he was 17, but a doctor told him it’s genetic…either way, he does indeed have a perfectly round hole in his skull…)
In any case, Craig wants his skull to live on as a very fancy candleholder. I told him that I would love to have that honor. Apparently, I was the first person who thought that it was a grand idea! So, after many unresearched conversations and ponderings and freaking outs on both out parts, we decided to research the feasibility of this actual gift.
First, I told him that I surely didn’t just want his head itself, and definitely didn’t want to have to bid my farewell to his face while I dropped him into a pot to boil off all of the tissue, muscles, and brain matter…I very much don’t want to ‘Dahmer’ him…nor do I want to have a heart-to-heart with his disembodied head about how much I’ll miss him, as well as the other parts that used to be attached…yeah…anyway…
Then he mentioned being put into the cremator oven, and once his head’s tissue had been burned off sufficiently, somebody could just yank his skull out at the exact, precise moment when all I’d have to do is give it a good pressure wash (with tiny polished glass balls, he informed me…). But that didn’t sound quite above-board either…
So…then Craig really looked into it, especially after I suggested that this all might be illegal..
And alas, no! It is perfectly legal. There is simply a ‘Deposition of Carcass’ form that needs to be filled out prior to death, being duly signed by both parties and notarized. Apparently, this form usually pertains to hunting Wild Boar, but it may also apply to circumstances when your good bar buddy might be a person who can carry out their wish to make their skull a very decorative candle holder.
So we talk about it all the time now. The legal form might take $375 to be fully executed by a lawyer, as well as notarized. And again, it must be completed before his death, with both of our signatures. And he is able to stipulate that I only use pink, rose-scented candles in his skull-hole, which is fine with me, because I love the smell of roses.
Finally, he came up with quite a great idea. Being a big fan of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, he always loved Jombie (sp?), the green-faced genie in the box who always gave the day’s magic word. So, he wants to have a good woodworking friend of his make a Jombie box that can be opened to visit him. I’m thinking that green lightbulbs pointing at him will really sell the whole deal.
And now that I know that he is serious about this whole endeavor, I wonder if I will get sad, or scared of mortality once I receive it…I might find myself looking at his skull and remembering all the laughs we had, and how we got ourselves to this point, his skull and I.
But then I think about how this is what he wants. As morbid as some people might view it, it IS truly what he wants. And the fact that I really liked the idea has made us better friends. We talk about all manner of things now- not just polite bar chatter anymore… He has found a person who will finally agree to do one wacky, dying wish for him. A person he never thought he’d find to do that last ‘HAHAHAHAH! Fuck it ALL, let’s have some fun with this bullshit!’
And I, in turn feel quite stoked and honored that he’d give me his skull. And I imagine myself looking over at him when I’m down and feeling maudlin and dramatic, and Craig’s skull will just be looking right back at me, saying, ‘Aw, shut up, girl. Just laugh at all this crap! You have a friggin rose candle in my skull! It’s all gonna be ok, and none of it matters…’
Yeah, I know that this sounds crazy to most people, but I’d be honored to have your skull, Craig. You’re always a constant reminder to just enjoy and have fun, regardless of the petty bullshit that tries to take over. I will proudly put a rose-scented candle in that weird hole in your head, and FUCK what anyone else has to say about it. Except Jombie, because he’ll need to give us the Word of the Day…
(Just stick around a bit longer, ok? We have more laughs to be had…)