Joe Asks: “Why is everyone so happy to be dead?”

Joe's Obit PictureCup of Joe are the random, unedited thoughts of Joe, a friend of Eddie’s. Joe’s opinions in no way reflect Eddie’s take on things – though maybe they should.


I read the online-obituaries in my hometown paper every day.  Why?  Well, it’s a way to keep up with the folks there.

I learned to do this several years ago after one too many conversations with someone back home.

“Bob, you ever see Larry Plegmtrickle?”

“No, man, Larry died three years ago.”


“Yep, ingrown nose hair—doctors down at Duke tried to remove it but his head caved in.”

“Oh, lawww, you know it didn’t.”

“Sure did.”

Anyway, that’s why I read the obits—trying to keep up with the folks that have departed.  But in looking at the obituaries, one thing has me flummoxed.  More and more, the obituaries are accompanied by a picture of the deceased.  And in all but just a few, the danged people are smiling like they just had sex or had won a free meal at Outback.

Does that make any sense?

“Myrtle, I’ve got your test results back.  It looks like you’ve got cancer in your thingy.  And I’m afraid you have about three weeks to live.”

“Well, hot damn Doc, that’s the best news I’ve heard all week.  Here, take a picture.”

Of course, the other side of that are the pictures of those people who look like they were on one of those Carnival Cruises where everybody contracted a stomach virus in ten foot seas when the ship lost power and they were feeding everybody bowls of Cream of Kaopectate Soup.

So, I haven’t decided.  When I cash it all in, do I want to have my picture in the paper?  I don’t know—maybe the thing to do is to include a picture of my dog.  She was a whole lot prettier and possibly more well-behaved.  And she wouldn’t be grinnin’ or lookin’ like she was about to hurl.

Pecker Wrecker by Joe

Pecker Wrecker

Pecker Wrecker

Well, I gotta tell you a sad tale.  We don’t have a cap on our chimney.  That, in and of itself, is not particularly sad, I don’t think.  But when a young woodpecker ends up behind the glass doors of your fireplace, disoriented and flailing itself against the glass in an effort to get out, well it makes you wonder why you didn’t have a cap installed years earlier.  Plus all that thrashing….thrashing….thrashing.

After consulting the Internet, where we go for all of our advice, we were advised not to open the glass doors because it most likely would mean that the bird would escape into the house, flying from room to room, pooping on the furniture and all the walls instead of its firebrick prison with the fake logs and the little gas pilot light.  But finally, after she had hit the door so many times in twenty-four hours, we decided to make an effort to get her out.  I shrouded Deb in an afghan, with her permission of course, while she opened the doors.  On the second try, she was able to grasp the bird despite its loud objections.

Deb took it outside and placed it on the ground where it spread its wings and sat there.  Not a good sign.  Deb picked it back up and we began giving it drops of water.  Then we noticed it had a small twig stuck in its beak.  So Deb pulled on it gently to free it from the bird’s beak.  Sadly, it was the bird’s tongue.  A woodpecker’s tongue is wrapped up in a special canal in its skull.  There’s about four inches of it—I guess for getting little insects out of hard to reach places.  Who knew?  Anyway, it’s hard to put back.  But it was a moot point.  I guess maybe the bird was injured from all the flailing.  There was a moment where it turned and looked at Deb and then it died in her hands.  It was really quite sad.

We’re animal lovers around here.  Really hated to see her go but I guess that’s life.  I just hope that’s not how I end up going.  For that very reason, that’s why I resist the temptation of sitting in the fireplace.  You know….just sayin’.

If I think of any more uplifting stories of death and suffering, I will not hesitate to pass them along.


P.S.  Today, I arranged for a company to come out and put a cap on our chimney to keep the birds out.  And if the installer ends up falling down the chimney into the fireplace, we will not let him thrash upon the glass doors for very long.  We will try to get him out the first day even if we think he’s gonna poop on the walls.  Then we’ll place him in the yard.  And we probably won’t pull on his tongue.  Always trying to learn from our experiences.


A Cup of Joe – Bridal Bouquet

A Cup of Joe - Bridal Bouquet

A Cup of Joe – Bridal Bouquet

Thoughts From My Friend Joe

This afternoon as I was driving down the Beltline toward Costco, I caught a glimpse of something in the median that saddened my heart a little bit.  It was a bridal bouquet that had been tossed away.

As I drove, I pondered what set of circumstances could have caused a bride to discard such an icon from a day that should be cherished for all time.  Had she just learned that Mr. Wonderful had spent their wedding eve night in the bed of her maid of honor?  Had her new husband succumbed to a guilty conscience and confessed his love for another woman on their way to the reception?  Had the love of her life said something nasty to her mother?  The hopes and dreams of a life together, cut short before it even got started.

Sad—–SAD.  A discarded bridal bouquet lying in the median amongst the trash, discarded beer cans and cigarette butts.  Or maybe it was a pair of boxer shorts, I couldn’t really tell.  I was going about seventy miles per hour at the time.

A Cup of Joe

Food Lion Christmas tree

Food Lion Christmas tree

Well, we’re making the last turn before we head down the homestretch toward Christmas.  Of course, I forget now what store it was, but this year one of the stores I was in had a bit of Christmas stuff out the last of September.  You think that might be pushing it a little?  Yeah, me too.

Saturday, Deb and I went shopping for a Christmas tree.  We found this place that had lots of pretty firs and not a single person out there with a chain saw or to help you load the tree in your car.  Food Lion!  $29.95 for an authentic Christmas icon.  We’ve bought trees there the last three or four seasons.  OK, one year our tree looked like it had come loose and been drug down the highway from Boone for several miles, but we just turned that portion toward the wall.  And where else can you buy a Christmas tree and toilet paper in the same place?  Right—Food Lion.  I mean, you go on a regular Christmas tree lot and start asking for toilet paper and people start getting nervous.

It’s Christmas that I think of Mom and her Russian Tea.  That Yuletide brew was tolerable the first twelve hours, then the dang cloves in the stuff got stronger and stronger till it would numb your tongue.  Mom used to serve it to everybody who dropped in during the holidays.  After they’d had a cup, you couldn’t understand a thing they said.  It had about four different kinds of fruit juices in it and a fifty pound bag of sugar.  Dad always said it reminded him of something that needed to be poured back in the horse!

It’s Tuesday and while we’ve put in twelve quarts of water since Saturday, we haven’t gotten any closer to decorating our tree.  But that’s OK, just having the tree standing in the living room, blocking half the TV, kind of warms the heart.  And the aroma—-nothing reminds me of Christmas like a tree that smells like Food Lion.

Later, Joe