A letter specifically addressed to me arrived in the mail the other day, and I had to chuckle after reading the following message inside:
“A grave marker is how people will remember you long after everyone you know has passed, so you’d better make it good. When done well, it can provide a sense of one’s style in life. The epitaph should be pithy, the shape and style memorable. You could go for the classic granite slab, or opt for something a little more memorable.”
Of course, this advertisement was from a statewide monument manufacturer trying to coax me into preordering one before my time. No one else would claim that a grave marker is a person’s living legacy. It had me thinking of what would be the ultimate gravestone for a jokester. Of course, I’d definitely want one “a little more memorable” as the letter mentioned.
The ultimate tombstone would be one with a list of my life accomplishments chiseled into stone, so that those folks walking through the cemetery, after stopping and reading, would think more highly of Michael Hankins. Exactly what life accomplishments to have engraved on a two-foot by three-foot chunk of granite took some serious pondering, being that I have so many.
Early on, at five years of age, I escaped Sunday school one morning by faking a trip to the restroom, and then walked a couple of miles only to be caught. I’ve never bumped into anyone else having made it that far. At least I survived my escape unlike those three men trying to leave Alcatraz Island in 1962. This story alone would take up the whole stone so I’d just have to say: Escape artist.
At one o’clock in the morning, as Dad drove our family from Texas to Alabama, I accidentally shot my camera flash into his rearview mirror causing the old man to drive off the road without crashing. To simplify things on my memorial it would simply read: Photographer.
While on vacation in Lake Havasu City, and riding a rental personal watercraft on the lake, I popped things into reverse doing forty just to see what would happen. Catipulted a good twenty feet as my son watched, I survived other than having the wind knocked out of me. I’m definitely not the only person having done that but most likely one of the first. A simplistic description here for my marker: Stuntman.
Accruing nine speeding tickets before turning eighteen, and not losing my license or insurance thanks to there being no computers back then to log data equates to: Racecar driver.
Having my first checking account and not taking into consideration the balance didn’t reflect some checks not clearing made me a: Bouncer.
Playing catcher on a church softball team and having the crotch totally rip out on my weathered jeans, yet continuing to play while folks I didn’t know silently laughed: Exhibitionist.
Getting lost in a Phoenix parking lot after walking out of a large mall, and not being able to find my rental car for over an hour: Discoverer.
There’s many more accomplishments, yet I believe the stone’s now full. In fact, there’s not enough room left for month, day, and year. Perhaps, preordering a tombstone with that in mind isn’t such a bad idea after all?