The Wedding video and Funerals
When the house opposite us sold many years ago, the new owners had found the wedding video of the previous owners. It had been stuffed in a corner, hidden out of sight, abandoned in a built-in wardrobe on the top shelf. It was the only item left in the house by the previous owners.
Now, there was a story of pathos if ever there was. A lonely dust covered bit of marital biography all in glorious colour at its infancy. One wonders how many wedding videos are being abandoned and end up as landfill.
We knew the couple and shared many a social event. Towards the end, the parties and social contact petered out. There were stormy marital flare-ups, and it was rumored the husband was staying out late. He had many meetings to attend to, was busy working himself up the corporate ladder of a large liquid and powder soap empire of which he was promoted to team leader of the ‘washing machine powder’ division. Her washing, my wife often remarked, was always a ‘sparkling as new white’ with colours remaining ‘unbleached and remaining true’. We ended up buying large 9kg buckets of this amazing soap powder.
In our street, many of us were inclined to Green with some gravitating towards the Labor side of things rather than Liberal and definitely not National. We used to sneer at Royals and Pommies with a cricket and footie disdain thrown in for good measure. We avoided the dish washer and electric clothes dryers as proof of our concern for environment and wastage of coal fired electricity.
Apart from the husband of the soap powder opposite staying out working hard, there were also rumours of him ‘swinging’. His wife had even spoken dismissively about him. She was clearly unhappy. All of a sudden he had gone and she was left with the two children, a lawnmower and buckets of soap powder but also the house which had gone up in value enormously. It was the golden lining to an end of a cloudy and stormy marriage. She cheered up after that and even found a nice new man who was an expert and advisor on superannuation. He was always immaculately dressed in dark blue suits with a short well groomed beard and wearing glasses. Oddly enough he advised anyone within earshot to be well covered for eventualities such as deaths, especially funeral ‘eventuality’. He was definitely not a swinger.
I feel sure some feel drawn to the funereal art of embalming, coffin making and all that goes with death. They make the best of a reasonable and totally predictable event and appearances count in death as much as they do in life. The competition is ferocious and as is the case with spotting fees being paid to tow-truck operators so it is with spotting rewards for imminent ‘deaths’ reporting, especially if the death is of someone eminent as well.
Some years ago, there was an outcry and public furor about competitors in different cars with screaming tyres arriving at the still warm but none-the- less fatally dead and thoroughly deceased person’s relative front door. Scuffles broke out. It spoiled many a good death. There was an inquiry and certain funeral firms were rebuked for trying to muscle into the industry of the dead with certain middle European and Lebanese groups being mentioned.
The one certainty we hold and know is that we ‘know’ we will finally end up not living anymore. It ought to be reassuring but oddly enough it is not. I have yet to hear of videos being found in vacant houses celebrating the end of life, the funeral. Why is that? We go through lengths to choose the coffin (the Mount Calvary model with brushed metal handles is really ‘in’ at the moment), the gladioli flowers, the venue etc, yet we rarely record that event. I have never had an invitation to watch a good funeral video.