By the time I got to them I couldn't believe what I was witnessing -- each brother was holding an unplugged floor lamp like a lightsaber, circling each other. It took me a second to process everything, but when I finally spoke up to tell them how ridiculous the situation was, one them smacked the other over the back with the lamp (I do have to respect the opportunistic nature of that fella), which led to a quick skirmish on the floor. It broke up pretty quickly, but it was neither the time nor the place for it -- the correct time and place would've been the ECW Arena in 1997 -- and everybody left feeling pretty embarrassed.
If you're not hammered, violent, or blatantly rule-breaking, most other requests are OK
On the other side of the coin, if you have a special request for your loved one, don't be scared to speak up. One person wanted me to play Nirvana on the way to the cemetery because it was the deceased's favorite band. "Oh, and one more thing -- CRANK IT." You bet your ass I did it. There wasn't a cooler hearse in the world that day. It got some strange looks from the people we passed on the street, but whatever.
I've received requests to wear a Mets tie while doing a funeral, to pass someone's favorite bar on the way to the cemetery, to lead an entire collection of people attending a funeral in singing The Golden Girls’ theme, pretty much anything you can imagine. Have I rolled my eyes at some of the requests? Absolutely. But you know what? When you see how much it means to the family, it makes it all worth it.
People don't really want to talk about death or funerals, and yeah, funeral directing is a strange job. Having your mortality thrust in your face every day you go into work gives you a pretty unique outlook on life. I don't particularly mind the job as a whole -- I wish it were more 9-5, but hey, I get to help people, and that feels pretty good.
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