I, Abraham J. Finklestone of Niles, Illinois, do hereby declare this to be the last of my fifty-two wills, unless Dr. Gottlebaum finally believes that I am sick and decides to do something about it and I live long enough to write another. If he does not, and I perish, please inform him that I took some satisfaction upon my demise knowing that I was right and he was wrong. And let him know that I’m of “sound mind,” despite what he may say to the contrary.
Now then. I wish to be referred to only by my full and proper name: Abraham J. Finklestone. Do not let anyone sneak any of the following into my obituary or onto my tombstone: “AJ,” “Abe,” “Lincoln,” “Stinkin’ Lincoln,” “A-Bag,” “A-Hole,” “Fink,” “Finkletoes,” “Finklebone,” “Finklebonehead,” “Fred Finklestone,” or “Flunklestone.”
My memorial service will be held at the Niles Community Center, where I attend group therapy and weekly bingo games. I have been very hot lately, so please investigate the possibility that I was poisoned by one of the other players. Last Thursday’s brownies, made by the very competitive Beatrice R. Watkins, were particularly suspicious. (I barely made it home without having a “brown-out.”)
Volunteer bingo caller Stammerin’ Stan Babber will lead the service and run a simultaneous bingo game. Please be patient, because if he’s having a bad day a single game can run over two hours. Upon reaching a legal bingo, which shall be defined as a straight line in either a horizontal, vertical or diagonal direction, the service shall conclude. The winner will collect the prize (bobblehead Spiro Agnew), place the winning card in my casket and close the lid. Stammerin’ Stan will declare, as best he can, “That’s a winning bingo,” and then we’ll have some lunch.
Schmecky Chen, the Jewish-Chinese entertainer and owner of Schmeckens, the Jewish-Chinese restaurant, will provide the catering. The menu will include: Mao-Tzo Ball Soup, Potato Chancakes, General Sol’s Chicken, Kung Pao Kugel, and Bubby Buddha’s Babka. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. After lunch Schmecky will perform his routine about Confucius having trouble renting a car because he has no identification. (“But I’m Confucius,” he says, and the guy behind the counter says, “I don’t know what’s so confusing, pal. You need a driver’s license.” I love it!)
Schmecky is not just a jokester. He sings like Jerry Lewis, if Jerry Lewis grew up in Shanghai. I’ve asked him to sing “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Mamma’s Little Baby Loves Shortnin’ Bread,” “Ride Like the Wind” and “Roll Out the Barrel.” During the last verse of “Roll Out the Barrel,” the pallbearers will roll out a barrel containing Kid Dynamite, two-time Midwest championship midget wrestler (1969 and 1970, 80-85 pound weight class). Mr. Dynamite was severely injured by an “Atomic Drop” applied by Junior Mint in 1971 and will need some assistance getting in and out of the barrel. (To make it easier, the pallbearers may just want to tip the barrel upside down.)
After being dumped out of the barrel, Mr. Dynamite will referee a wrestling match between my two ex-wives. The match shall last three rounds, or until one ex-wife is pinned, surrenders or is about to be Atomic Dropped. (Kid Dynamite suffers from nuclear flashbacks and will immediately suspend the match at the first threat of a “mushroom cloud.”) If there is no winner after three rounds, Schmecky will lead the ladies in a game of “Eeny Meeny Miny Mao.” The winner shall receive my vice president bobblehead collection (complete from 1960, minus Spiro Agnew) while the loser gets my Kid Dynamite bobblehead collection (pre-“Atomic Drop,” each figure life-size).
After the service, lunch and wrestling, chauffeur me in a black hearse to Green Pastures Memorial Cemetery, located in the heart of Des Plaines, Illinois, right off the 294 tollway. I’ve reserved a corner lot overlooking the Burger Belly rest stop. Their manager, Fernando, assured me that my plot is within their delivery area. The chauffeur should transport me to my new home in the manner in which I drive myself: twenty miles per hour and hazard lights flashing. Please drive through the McDonald’s and order me a “coffee to go.” Make sure it’s decaf, as I want no difficulty sleeping.
I wish to be buried in a new (make sure it is unused!) maroon coffin with gray interior, just like my Buick LeSabre. Do not spend additional money on undercoating or rustproofing. Please place the latest copy of Time magazine inside the coffin, along with a flashlight, a bag of Twizzlers and a roll of toilet paper.
Each attendant shall throw three scoops of dirt on my grave. Be careful not to get any in the air pipe. Somebody should periodically shout down the pipe (possibly Stammerin’ Stan) to let me know how it’s going up there.
Once the dirt and I are down, Schmecky will sing “(I Did It) Mai Wei.” This is a real show-stopper, especially the part where he croons, “Complaints, I’ve had a slew/If you have time, let me just mention,” and then the music dies down and he “kvetches” about various aches and pains and people who have “screwed him over,” including his brother-in-law and the Red Army. As the mourners leave, they should remember to toss some change in Schmecky’s chef hat as a gratuity, and a few quarters down the air pipe in case I need to make a telephone call.
That’s about it. If you want to pay tribute to my memory, there are several things you can do. You can wrestle Kid Dynamite on my behalf, but no “Atomic Drops,” please. You can build a bobblehead Abraham J. Finklestone. Don’t make the head too wobbly, though, because I don’t want to get a crick in my neck. And you can always stop by and bring me some lunch. I’ll probably grow tired of Burger Belly after a while.