Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Vanity Of Death

The true rake should constantly be thinking about how awful other people's lives would be without him. The average man should constantly be marveling at how much more fulfilling the rake's life is than his own, while women should, at every moment of the day, be fantasizing about how much better their life would be with the rake instead of with their beau or husband. This vanity should not confine itself to one's daily routine. Rather, it should extend to every moment of the cycle of life and death. The life of the rake ensures that, unless he is endowed with superhuman genetics, his allotted span will be poor short--no more than one score and ten. Accordingly, he should take many of the idle hours of his day (and there are more than many) planning his own funeral.

Here are a few rules to follow:

1. If funds permit for an elaborate sarcophagus, the rake should never be cremated. This allows for an open casket wake and funeral. It maximizes viewing time of one's lovely young face. Yet do not forget to make arrangements for a closed casket if your demise is of a grisly nature. It would be devastating (for you, of course) if your closest lover's final glimpse of you made her question your comeliness.

2. When selecting a dirge to be played during the funeral rite, choose the saddest song available. Here are a few off the top of my head that are sure to have everyone in the church sobbing hysterically.
- Schoenberg's Verklaerte Nacht
- Siegfried's Funeral March from Göterdämmerung
- Chopin's Piano Sonata No.2, 3rd movement
- Tchaikovsky's Meditation de Souvenir d'un lieu cher
and appropriately
-Ravel's Le Gibet from Gaspard de la Nuit

These are, of course, just a few sad songs on a very long list. You need not limit your choice to artists who are deceased themselves. There are plenty of contemporary musicians who can pen a sad tune with the best of them. Here is a particularly sad piece that will have everyone who has ever spent a night with you devastated for months.

I Go To Sleep

3. There has been a tendency in recent years to treat funerals as "Celebrations of Life." This is absolute nonsense. After you die, no one should be celebrating anything for years. Leave specific instructions that the word "Celebrate" and any of its derivatives may only be mentioned in the eulogy , as in, "Gaspard could celebrate harder than almost anyone I have ever met."

For what greater peak of vanity is there than to premeditate the extremity of sorrow that others will be feeling on the day of your premature death? Put simply, you want them to realize that they hadn't lived until you died. If you can swing it, they should also feel that they cannot live after you have died.

This applies particularly to every woman whom you have wooed throughout your short but brilliant career. You cannot simply begin to make her feel remorse on the day of your mortuary rites; you must begin doing so almost from the moment you meet her. It is imperative that you make it abundantly clear that she will, barring any fatal accidents or contagions, outlive you. Moreover, you must ensure that on the day of your internment, she truly believes that she and no other was the cause of your early demise--though of course the real cause was your inveterate hedonism. Given that there will be many such women, the goal is to ruin as many emotional lives as possible. A particularly effective method of doing this is to intentionally script your last will and testament so that, at its somber reading, every single one of your dozens of lovers will believe that it is she and no other that has driven you to the grave. This will of course require that you word it in the vaguest and yet most poignant terms possible. For example, when bequeathing a personal object such as a hair comb or bathroom vanity, write, "I leave this to you, my most beloved, for whom I spent so many hours bettering my appearance." Such a comment will not only confuse many a lass present at the reading of your will, but will also remind them how much they miss your beautiful youthful face.

Although the rake is fundamentally allergic to work, he should devote as much effort as possible to this one project, as it will be his last and most vain. There is a fantastic website called My Wonderful Life that allows all funeral planning to be done ahead of time. It has a simple format and allows one to set all the parameters for a successful funeral. If his drinking and wooing is so demanding that he cannot spare even an hour for such an activity, he should delegate this duty to his most trusted domestic. If you are in such financial straits that you have no domestics, then you should gaff the project off to your favorite nebbish (but more on that later).

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