Norman (name changed) always was a rotten guy. He was a rotten guy when I knew him in high school.
At a house party on the Point, I wandered into the room he was in. I only knew him by name and reputation, but there was an aura about him, like rotting garbage. Meanness seeped from his pores like a bad smell.
He had his group of followers who strove for the same level of notoriety, some may have come close but no one was as nasty to the bone as Norman. And as the years passed he didn’t mellow.
I cringed when I heard about his evil and cruel techniques “breaking” horses, and I cheered when I learned one horse was meaner than Norman and really busted him.
Well, it seems that degree of meanness has a short shelf life and Norman died a few years into his 5th decade. My friend went to the funeral to show support for Norman’s family.
“Susan, why is it when a man is alive, and he is a butt head we call him a butt head, but when that man dies, everyone gets together and talks about what a great guy he was?”
It was hard for the group drinking beer at Norman’s wake to tell any tales of the dead guy’s good deeds. It was more about the time Norman got his nose broke (there were many) when he picked on the wrong man’s girlfriend. Or the sucker punches he threw in the frequent fights he started in bars, houses and beach parties. Most people at Norman’s wake were thinking about how the rotter had done them some wrong at one point in their association with him.
My friend turns 70 something this month and his brain is sharper than mine. He is still an avid horseman, volunteers at the horse grounds, takes in clinics and rides his horse in snow or rain. He never stops contemplating, considering, and reaching.
“And why do we wait until a man dies before his buddies get together, and we talk about his life, and what he means to us?”
My buddy and I have decided that a person should attend their own funeral, before they die. A true Celebration of Life. An occasion when you can hug their warm, breathing body, reminisce, laugh, cry, honor and thank them for what they bring to your life.
Or in Norman’s case, tell them what a butt head they are.