Good morning, thank you for coming to Bernie Goldfarb’s funeral. I am your host, Bernie Goldfarb.
And before all of you rush the dais to check the coffin, I am actually dead. That’s me in there, all two hundred eighty pounds of me. You’re not going to find a picture of me standing next to Elvis on the front page of the Enquirer, caught on line at the Tuscaloosa 7-11. Seriously, what kind of person fakes his own death only to be discovered buying an orange slurpee? If I was going to fake my own death, trust me, you’d never find me. I’d be vacuum-sucked and stapled to within an inch of my life. Sadly, I am not on the receiving end of a Hoover right now. I’m lying in that box, probably wearing some god-awful suit Sylvia picked out for me as her final revenge.
Still, since there are several lawyers in the audience, I realize you might need proof. So go ahead and check. I’ll wait. I’ve got time.
[Pause for mourners to check the coffin.]
Satisfied? Good. How did I look? Bloated, I’m sure, but then again, is that any different from how I looked before? Let’s not kid ourselves people, I was a tub. And it wasn’t like John Goodman-fat, where the weight is in all the right places. No one voted me sexiest fat man alive. Hell, even if I wasn’t fat I’d still be pretty ugly. Not that Syl was Miss America. She wasn’t even Miss Fat Jewess Harpy America. Our relationship was based on mutual unattraction. Oh, Syl. I kid because I detest. But we’ll get back to that in a moment.
I’ve asked my business partner Ira to read this, because I know that no matter what it says, he’ll say it. Ira has no qualms about hurting people’s feelings, and might be slightly sociopathic. When we represented that corporation accused of killing hundreds of people with laced aspirin (and by the way, contrary to what I said in open court, they did do it — trust me, I shredded the documents myself), he didn’t lose a night’s sleep. Even when we cross-examined that six-year-old girl who testified that she watched her mother’s skin peel off and her eyeballs pop out of her head. Ira grilled that kid to death. In fact, I think I saw him crack a smile during her testimony. Though that might have been gas.
And no matter what I say here, Ira, you have my deepest gratitude for reading my eulogy. Because frankly, I don’t trust the rest of you jokers to deliver a proper memorial. Most of my family members are dumb as bricks — I swear my grandparents must have been first cousins — and those of you who are not dumb as bricks are smart enough to realize that I didn’t like you. As for my friends, our friendship was mostly based on silent disrespect and implied animosity. You were just waiting for me to kick off, so you could pretend that you actually liked me. “Oh Bernie, what a terrific guy,” you’d say to each other, knowing full well that I was terrific at nothing, except maybe making money and collecting Civil War memorabilia (which, according to my will, should be buried with me). But, after I’m dead, you get to be all pompous and self-serving, and I won’t be around to call you out on it, nor would anyone else. Improper to speak ill of the dead, they’d say. That really burns my biscuits. Why should my legacy as a bastard be ruined by pointless etiquette?
So I’ve written my own eulogy to ensure that you don’t memorialize me through empty and misleading cliches like, I hope he knew what meant to all of us. I knew exactly what I meant to all of you, which is how I ended up in this box.
And before any of you run for the door, or Ira throws this speech in the incinerator along with all the heathen corpses (atheists, Catholics, etc.), be warned. Anyone who does not sit through this eulogy will not receive a red penny of my estate, which you all know was relatively sizable, thanks to years of profiting off of other people’s misery. Of course, you have no idea whether I actually left you anything. Judging from my miserly personality, you probably expect that I tried to take it with me. Frankly, the Egyptians had the right idea in that regard. I considered requiring that my secretary be buried along with me, just in case I need a cup of coffee or a foot rub on the way to hell. Of course, in thirty years she never got my coffee right, but I would so enjoy berating her for eternity. I also considered demolishing my home and turning it into a nuclear waste facility, just for kicks. So it is highly unlikely that any of you will walk out of here with anything. Actually, considering the rising costs of gasoline, in all likelihood today is actually a net loss for you. And I specifically chose a funeral home that does not validate parking.
But are you really willing to take that chance? What if I had a moment of generosity in the end, and left everything to my one-testicled nephew Leon? How about my mother’s miniature unicorn collection that you’ve had your eyes on for the past twenty years, Millie? Maybe I decided to finally rid my family of that hideous legacy and pass it on to you. And Fred, you could definitely use my Hooters frequent customer reward points. If you leave now, you’ll get zippo. Not even enough to get you a free basket of nachos and a lap dance. He who dies first laughs last.
In all honesty, though, most of you really have nothing to worry about today. Two of the major sources for my life’s constant disappointments — my parents — died at a relatively young age in that terrible fertilizer explosion, which was a major disappointment in and of itself, seeing as I never got the opportunity to put them in a moderately sub-par nursing home. The quality of nursing homes should be based on the quality of the parenting. The Cleavers would be fed daily and taken for regular walks around a lush garden filled with roses and pomegranate petals. Hitler’s parents would be strapped to crucifixes and subjected to repeating loops of Celine Dion’s world tour. My parents would have fallen somewhere in the middle; they’d be fed daily, but never brand-name products, and they’d only get enough exercise to prevent their muscles from atrophying. Though the quality of their nursing home would have been a sliding scale. The longer they lived, the lower the standard of the home. If they had lived till 90, they probably would have ended up in one of the homes featured on 60 Minutes (which I considered more as advertisements than cautionary tales). That’s not as cruel as it sounds, since by then they wouldn’t have known the difference between a whirlpool and a bed pan. It wouldn’t have come to that, though. Eating generic oatmeal would have killed my mother long before.
And I’m not going to waste my time listing all of the ways in which each of you has disappointed me through the years. We’d be here way too long for that — I could spend four hours on my plumber alone — and the room is only reserved until 11. I may be selfish, but I’m not a monster. Other people need to be buried today too, and as nice as the mortician may seem, he’d sell his mother down the river for another corpse. Business is business.
Besides, I don’t even remember most of the little disappointments. One or two stick out in my memory, more for their anecdotal quality than for any particular impact they had on my life. Like when Syl’s brother Curtis mispronounced my name as “Goldfart” during his wedding toast. “I’m sorry, it was just an accident,” he said, with a slight chuckle. Sure, Curtis. So was the malfunctioning diaphragm that led to your existence. It’s like I said during dinner last Thanksgiving — Syl’s whole side of the family should be sterilized. I’m no fan of the Nazis, but they were on to something with the eugenics idea. Maybe we could get a forced sterilization law passed in this country. Yet another reason to vote Republican.
Then when my daughter April got married — her name another disappointment, but a necessary compromise to my harpy of a wife, who wanted to name her “Harmony” — her brilliant ex-husband Mark actually did something intelligent, and persuaded her to sign a pre-nup, thereby forcing me to support her if she cheated on him, which, being her mother’s daughter, she inevitably did. He probably took one look at Syl and figured whorishness might run in the family. Not that I really blame her for cheating on Mark. She was blessed with big tits and a small IQ. We had to special order her first brassiere from Sweden. When she was 15 she asked for a breast reduction, but I refused, being of the firm belief that IQ is inversely proportional to breast size. I liked having a stupid daughter with big breasts; it — or more precisely, they — provided me with a much-needed source of pride. They made up for my son’s uncomfortably small penis, which was an extreme letdown, and I contend to this day, the number one reason for his violent felony record. Guys with big dicks just don’t hold up Dairy Queens. Plus, I thought April would get me a discount to whatever strip club she worked at. Although I only would have gone on her nights off. I didn’t want to see my daughter taking it off for a bunch of horny Asian businessmen. That’s just gross.
But really, I didn’t bring you all here to disparage you. Nothing I could say today would change the fact that my wife was a shrew, or that my son couldn’t satisfy a fruit fly. The real reason I’m talking to you today is to answer the one question that is on all of your minds. The pink elephant in the room. Something you all wanted to know, but never dared to ask, probably because I would have sued you for slander if you had.
Why in the world was Bernie such an asshole?
I wish I had a complex psychological explanation for you, something stemming from an emotionally or physically abusive childhood, perhaps. Maybe my parents sold me into African slavery at a tender age — a sort of reverse affirmative action for the politically correct age — or maybe they gave my favorite teddy bear to a poor and undeserving homeless child. But despite their shitty death, my parents weren’t all that bad. Sure, they weren’t the sharpest tacks in the bunch, but stupidity is not a crime (not yet, anyway — vote Republican!). In fact, I probably caused more psychological damage to them than vice versa. And contrary to the e-mail chain that went around the firm last summer, I am not the spawn of Satan. If I was, none of you would still be here, having each met a painful and terrible demise. I’m particularly partial to flaying myself.
No, there was nothing in my past that led to my esteemed position as town prick. Sure, I was a lawyer, but being a lawyer was an effect, not a cause. So why did associates vomit at the sight of my number on their caller ID? Why did I consistently tip 2% or less? Why did I repeatedly bring home dying puppies for my children? Well, here’s the long-awaited answer.
Because I enjoyed it.
Yes, that’s it, it’s that simple. After all those years of psychoanalysis you’ve invested in to determine why I treated you the way I did, that is what it comes down to — treating you like crap gave me the jollies. The Philadelphia psychiatric community owes me big time. I put half of their kids through college with the agony I caused. Not to mention the pharmaceutical industry. The year of my first divorce, sales of Prozac exceeded the GDP of Liberia. Now that I’m dead, any of you with stock in the pharmaceutical industry should sell. Those companies are in for a major hit. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Of course, there is still the question of why I enjoyed torturing you all. Since it wasn’t environmental, it must have been genetic. There must be an asshole gene. And why shouldn’t there be? There’s a homosexual gene, at least according to those bleeding heart liberals. Why shouldn’t there be an asshole gene too? There’s an easy way to tell. Someone run out and get a vial of Dick Cheney’s blood. I think W. wears one around his neck.
This could be a monumental discovery, too. If there is an asshole gene, that means assholes might be eradicated. Or at least banished. That’s what I always said they should do with the homosexuals. Put all of them on some faraway island together, so they can screw each other in peace. It can be a nice island, I don’t care, as long as they don’t have oil, or any other precious resource. The United States doesn’t negotiate with homosexuals.
No one ever bought into my homosexual exile idea — more evidence for my theory that all of you are actually queers, with the exception of my small-dicked son, who couldn’t make it as a gay — but I have a feeling that my asshole exile idea would get more support. Think of it. A world without assholes. A world of polite people, politely giving up their seats for the elderly on the subway, politely over tipping, politely voting Democrat. Sounds like my own personal hell. I suppose I’ll find that out soon enough.
Maybe it’ll happen. Of course, if it does, the banished assholes would probably form an army and conquer the wusses who banished them in the first place, thereby mixing assholes and wusses and starting all over again. It will be one long, unending cycle of peace and violence, until someone presses the wrong button and the only assholes or wusses left are radioactive. Until that day though, at least you can comfort yourselves knowing that I’m in this box, and not roaming the streets looking for kittens to hang and liberals to punch. This is one less asshole you’ll have to kick around.
So I was born an asshole, and I died an asshole. That’s it. Don’t look for deeper meaning, because there is none. There’s no disintegrating sled in my fireplace.
If that was all I had to tell you, though, you’d be entitled to kick my coffin for making you come today. Nothing I’ve said so far was truly a surprise. I’ve just confirmed what you already suspected. And personally, I’ve enjoyed kicking you while I’m down. But I want to give you your money’s worth. (Ira, you did collect admission from everyone, right? Make sure my grandmother paid her share. 108 year olds are notoriously shifty.)
So here comes the big finish.
Everyone here assumes I died of natural causes. Makes sense. As previously established, I was a tub. The only reason I never hired a prostitute is that I’d rather spend my money on food. Even the best fucks only last a few minutes, but a side of bacon can last a whole week. If Miss Piggy turned tricks, that would have been the best of both worlds.
But you’re wrong about my so-called “natural” death. It wasn’t my time to go, even if you all wished it was. In fact, I probably could have lasted several more decades, at least. It’s amazing how many years one can survive purely on bitterness and recrimination (and a five pound sirloin daily).
Which brings me back to Syl. How are you doing, Syl? Enjoying the merry widow routine? You must look fabulous today. You’re probably beaming. Not that I blame you. I’d be the same way if our roles were reversed. In fact, I’d probably be drunk, and not the depressed, my life is over kind of drunk. More like the celebrate good times, KC and the Sunshine Band, kind of drunk. You were never much of a drinker, though. You stuck to the pills; as you always said, pills are “much less messy, and don’t leave any morning-after breath.” You were such a sucker for appearances, which begs the question of your fashion sense. But I’m not going to get into that can of track pants. This is my eulogy, not yours.
And I suppose Leon is sitting next to you, consoling you as we speak. How’s that one testicle, Leon? Leon lost the other one in a tragic boating accident when he was six. Tragic for him, hilarious for me. Though I think the impact on his life has been relatively minimal. I doubt most women notice. They’re probably paying much more attention to his snaggle-tooth. Or his humongous nostrils. He is still far more attractive than his father, though, who met an untimely death at the receiving end of a pitchfork and an army of angry villagers.
Syl and Leon — such a lovely pair. They rank up there with Adolph and Eva, Sid and Nancy, and Bill and Hillary as people I’d most like to meet pushing boulders up a hill in hell. Which will happen soon enough. Because, you see, they murdered me.
Oh, don’t look so shocked. Is this really another surprise? Someone was bound to do it eventually. If it hadn’t been them, it would have been someone else I pissed off in my daily rampage. I recently caught the paperboy shooting an unloaded BB gun at my car. My secretary bought herself an extra sharp letter opener for Christmas. And just last week I found the mail room staff constructing a crude mannequin out of UPS boxes with my face stapled to the head, which they promptly hung from a rafter on the ceiling. It’s only a small step from effigy to actual corpse.
So really you should all be thanking Syl and Leon for taking the fall here, because another week and it might have been you. Still, murder is murder. However unfair it might seem, killing an asshole is still illegal. Unless Syl could prove that I beat her, but no one would believe that. I was way too fat and lazy, and she is too mean herself. A jury would never buy that Syl suffered from Battered Woman’s Syndrome, unless that term referred to pancake batter.
And there’s no need to deny it, guys. It’s all caught on video, which my lawyer delivered directly to the authorities, and which is probably circulating around YouTube as we speak. About a month ago I overheard you talking about it in the living room and decided to install miniature cameras in every room of the house. Here’s a tip: when you’re planning to murder someone, don’t plan it with them in the house. I was watching Rachel Ray at the time, so you probably thought I was too busy masturbating to overhear anything. You were wrong. Lucky for me, she had a guest host on that day. The Naked Chef. I had no interest in him, culinary or otherwise.
Of course, you’re wondering why I didn’t try to stop them. Well, first of all, I never thought Leon would have the ball to go through with it. All he had to do was buy the strychnine, but that seemed like too much of a responsibility for a person who always carries around an extra pair of underwear, just in case. And anyway, like I said, I figured one of you would kill me eventually, and poisoning seemed like the cleanest way to go. I sure as hell didn’t want to be on the receiving end of that letter opener. If my secretary was as inept at killing people at she was at everything else, I would have been hacked more times than a sturgeon by the time she nicked a major artery.
Plus, I thought this situation held a certain poetic justice. I sure didn’t want to go before Syl, but I knew that it was a strong possibility, given her iron-clad living will. I tried to build loopholes into it (do not resuscitate in case of brain damage, coma, or involuntary smothering), but she was too quick for that. This way, I might be gone, but Syl’s on her way out as well. And her remaining days will be spent in some filthy lesbo lockdown. Of course, she probably won’t be that popular. Lesbians have their standards too.
My only regret is that you didn’t murder me in Texas. The average lag time between conviction and execution there is four days, and I hear the current governor is trying to get that reduced as well. Eventually he intends to turn the defendant’s seat into an electric chair, so that the moment the jury reads the verdict, the judge can just press a button and be done with it. That’s my kind of state. Speaking of which, I do hope the electric chair is still around by the time they get around to frying you, Syl. I can’t think of a better final punishment for you than an involuntary perm.
Whew. I feel so much better having gotten all of that off my plus-sized chest. Police are posted at every exit, so don’t try to run, Syl. Not that you could run if you tried, given that you haven’t seen your own feet since the Carter Administration. It doesn’t matter much to me whether you try to run, Leon. Hopefully someone on the brigade is a crack shot, but it would be no great disappointment if you got away. In fact, I always kind of felt bad for you. Life is tough enough with two balls.
And Syl, I’m sure I’ll see you soon, thanks to the Supreme Court’s disregard of international norms of decency. But until then, I’ll be resting in peace, probably tormented by dozens of little red men with pitchforks. No matter. It’s still better than sleeping with you.
As for the rest of you, your initial inclination was correct. You’re not getting squat. I’m leaving it all to Leona Helmsley’s dog — that bitch deserves it. Except I’m leaving twenty thousand dollars for my daughter’s breast reduction, or my son’s penis enlargement. You guys can fight over it. I’d try to strike a deal if I were you, half a breast for three inches. That way, everyone’s a winner. Especially that new Dairy Queen by the truck stop.
Bernard S. Goldfarb