In the past couple months, my friend Mark, my friend Linda’s sister Cathy, and a country line dancing friend of mine, Norma, all died. It’s time to get some of my final wishes down in writing, should I ever become incapacitated or dead, not that I’m anticipating either happening to me, but like they say, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
I use the word “penultimate,” because I expect to make changes before I die, especially since I’m just writing this in sort of a stream-of-consciousness way. I just want to be prepared with some sort of written document in case anything ever happens suddenly. After all, I was a Boy Scout. Who’s to say what might change? Maybe when I’m on my deathbed, I might suddenly scream out, “Screw Uncle Tony, he’s not getting my watch,” or something like that. Last Wills are impossibly tough to write, because you want it to accurately express your final desires, and you don’t expect it to change. It’s your LAST Will. It’s final. Plus, you’ve gotta feel like you’re putting the whammy on yourself just by writing it. Penultimate Wills don’t come with that pressure. It can always be edited. It’s just what the Pirates of the Caribbean would call “a guideline.” It’s also optimistic, because it shows that you don’t think you need a final draft just yet. This should be a breeze, and, in a way, it is a civic responsibility. Please understand that these are just my wishes at this current moment, they’re not chiseled in stone (though that would be cool).
I’ll leave off the “Hereby, being of sound mind” line, because I can’t really vouch for that. I can say, though, that this is probably as sound as my mind gets, and it’s not likely to get any sounder as I limp into old age. They say that there are two ways than a man can be sure that he’s getting old. Number One is he starts forgetting things. Number Two is…gee, I don’t remember. That’s another reason why I’m writing all this down now.
I saw a T-shirt that said, “I never though I would grow into a grumpy old man, but here I am, killing it.” I regret that I don’t yet have that T-shirt, but I do have a lot of t-shirts and clothes. Upon my demise, I donate them all to the mission in Lancaster. I think it’s on Water Street. Otherwise, Goodwill, or rags at the car wash.
John Brand gets my James Buchanan bobble-head doll. I think he will appreciate it more than my brother Donald would, though I know they both can’t say enough about the only President born and raised in Pennsylvania. John also gets my Lancaster Barnstormer stuff. Go Stormers.
Margaret Brand gets everything related to A Little Bit Better, the Children’s Book I wrote that was illustrated by her daughter, Eileen. Margaret gets my rights to the words in the book. Eileen already has the rights to the illustrations. If you dig around, I might have 40-50 copies of the book on a book shelf someplace just waiting to brighten some children’s lives. Plus, I’ve got some of the “Deleted and Bonus Material” that shows how the book evolved. It’s in a kitty liter bucket marked “A Little Bit Better.” (Clever, huh?) You can also have the framed artwork that Eileen drew that I bought at auction. They’re hanging on my Wall of Fame in the back room.
Deborah Jean Beck Donohue gets my tricycle, record collection, cd collection, video collection, and VCR equipment. Any beer or alcohol left over goes to her, too. Throw in the breathalyzer, too. She won’t use it, but it might give her a laugh. I know that I laughed every time I showed it to her and she slurred, “I’m not drunk. Go ahead. Take my blood pressure.” Debbie also gets the poster she had made of me and Muhammad Ali from a picture taken at the Vista International Hotel at the World Trade Center. I outlived both Ali and the hotel. Otherwise, I would give them this great picture taken by Angelo Dundee.
Maria Fundus gets my wine rack and wine glasses. It’s empty now, but I’ll try from now on to keep it stocked with a supply of Pinot Grigot. Maria also gets back the 25th Anniversary Mavericks T-Shirt she gave me. Odds are it will be clean. I only wear it when I go to Mavericks concerts with her, and I do have a washer and dryer, which I bought with my landlord Ed Pelton. The washer and dryer are all his now.
Barbara Hennig gets the armoire in my bedroom, and the big vase in the kitchen. Her husband James Cuozzo gets all my tools and any handyman sort of stuff. Jim also gets the Dutchland Rollers stuff.
My favorite skater, Vanitti #29, a.k.a. Jessie gets to know that I’ll be rooting for the Dutchland Rollers forever.
Geralyn Becker gets the big framed picture that her sister Marianne took of us singing at a LAM Dance. Geralyn also gets full rights to all the issues of The Cyber Space Cadet Gazette, which she helped to produce by letting me write them while I was supposed to be working at Cyber Medical. Hi Guys!
Marianne Driscoll gets her mother Arleen’s bowling ball, which I have kept unscathed from hitting too many pins. If I have any plays written, they, and all their rights, go to Marianne. As of this moment, I’m working on two of them: Alicia Off and Miles to Go Before I Sleep. If I live another decade I should complete both. If any of Marianne’s kids wants my LAM ring from Las Vegas, they can have it.
Patrice Davis gets a copy of all my screenplays and first choice on all my books and audio books by other authors. Whatever she doesn’t want I hope Marianne Driscoll will somehow manage to donate to Veterans, Africa, Goodwill, or Dentist’s offices somewhere.
Linda Merensky gets the unicorn spoon holder in the kitchen and the screen rights to Two Ships Passing…One Failing. If the book is ever finished, she can have the rights to that too. Linda also gets “The Band,” the complete collection of blow-up instruments I used to take to Karaoke.
Isabella, the little girl who lives upstairs gets my clarinet. That way the neighbors in Lancaster can all remember me whenever she practices on it.
Peggy Carbone gets my saxophone. She had to endure hours of listening to me practice when I first was learning how to play it as a kid in South Ozone Park.
Tierney O’Rourke gets all the rights to Bless Me, Jack. After all, it is his story.
The Hall of Fame of the Trotter in Goshen, NY gets the screen rights to Miles to Go Before I Sleep.
Joe Becker of Lancaster gets all the furniture that’s left after my friends pick out things they want. I don’t think Joe will want the stuff, but he’ll know how to sell it.
Tilda Virgilio Clark gets the book of Tuscany cooking I was supposed to give her months ago. And she also gets one of these:
She’ll know what it means, and it’ll give her a big laugh. She really would prefer if I did it with both hands, but I couldn’t hold both hands up and hit the enter key with my elbow. Believe me, I tried.
My nephew DJ, a teacher and sports coach on Long Island, NY, gets all my sports equipment. He also gets my train style pocket watch to time his slow runners.
My niece Beth, a Lieutenant in the NYPD, gets my pet pig, Buzz Lightpig.
Caution: he’s a lot bigger than he looks in this picture.
My horseracing computer (The Dell) and all the horse information goes to my friend Caesar in the Downthestretch@yahoogroups.com group. Don’t worry about deleting any porn first, Caesar said he could do that himself.
My Harness Racing watch goes to Archie in the MerryGoRoundRacing@Yahoogroup.com. I also turn over the reins of the group to him. To the group I leave all the horse paintings and sculptures. You can have contests to see who wins what.
Barbara Flaherty a.k.a. Princess LaLa and her husband John don’t need any material things to remember me by, but, LaLa, I’ll contact you from the afterlife and tell you what Heaven is like. (I’ll also try to find out if Republicans are allowed there.) LOL
I don’t think I have anything that my relatives in Johnstown would want, but they’re welcome to have my TV’s. Maybe some Eagle luck will rub off on their Steelers.
The rent should, of course, be paid up until the end of the month, so anyone can stay in my apartment for a few days and go sightseeing in Amish country. (Unless I croak at the very end of a month, 😉).
I know that my cousin Debbie and my Aunt Jane love to travel (and probably would like to visit the Outlet Stores in Lancaster). Don’t wait too late. Come on out for a visit while I can still show you around.
My brother Kevin gets anything with a Batman logo, and the stuff on the shelf next to Buzz Lightpig. Speaking of pork, LOL, he also gets congratulations on making Chief in the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. There sure are a lot of cops in my family tree. I’m glad none of them ever found out that I smoked pot. Wink. Wink. (a squirt or two of Visine) and another Wink. Wink. Kevin gets all my other laptop computers. Hopefully, he will find enough material on them to inspire a story or two for his blog. Then he can give them to his adopted children Zane and Aiden. They will probably find them to be old-fashioned, as I’m sure they have the latest techno devices, but they can just take them apart or smash them if they want to. That would be fun.
Everything else goes to Brother X, who will be in charge of sorting out the mess. That’s what you get for outliving me, Bro. You coulda put the whole stinkin’ thing on Kevin, but you took those 10,000 steps a day. I have a checking account with The Fulton Bank in Lancaster, PA; another checking account with HSBC in Nassau, NY; and a NY Life Annuity Plan. For details look in the locked steel box that is always somewhere in my bedroom. The key is in it. The key is always in it, otherwise I am positive that I would lose the key. There’s no money in there, but you should have enough money from my accounts to cover any final expenses with a little left over for a party for my friends. Otherwise, could you loan me the balance? LOL. I also have a betting account with Yonkers Raceway. I’m sure that you and a lot of other people will be very surprised if there’s any money left in that account.
I don’t want to be buried, but I would like my picture taken in a fox hole, just to prove that there are Atheists in fox holes. No, you don’t have to haul me around. You can Photoshop it. I don’t want any priests talking at any memorial celebration held in my name, saying that I’m in a better place blah, blah, blah. Even though I might be in a better place, if Trump is still President.
My first choice for the disposal of my carcass is to have my body donated to science, but if they send it back postage due, my backup plan is to be cremated and have my ashes sprinkled on a Harness Horse track. A burial at sea would also be nice, if the Navy feels compelled to honor me, thusly. (While I was on active duty, they offered to “throw me overboard” on many occasions.)
Please play, Prop Me Up by The Jukebox If I Die, by Joe Diffie.
If I should die while hooked up to a machine, unplug me. Wait five seconds and plug me back in. See if that works. If it doesn’t work, then…
Peace & Love, and all of the above.
- Earl Paulson
P.S. To get “dibs” on any of the other valuable momentos that will someday become available, just let me know what I have that you’d like to have, and be prepared to wait a very long time before delivery. (Hopefully.)
P.P.S. The washer, dryer, refrigerator, and the table in the back yard are not mine. They belong to the landlord. Everything else is up for grabs. I hope it becomes the longest going-out-of-business sale in history.