Friday, March 13, 2009

Memes are the kiss of death, so why not meme about death?

So I could tell you almost anything, but I choose this: I know memes don’t really rattle people’s cages, but I want to create one. It’s based on a book my parents got us, my brother and I, when our siamese cat died after being run over by a fish truck. Good way for a cat to go, eh? Anyway, it’s called, “the Tenth Good Thing about Barney” by Judith Viorst, published in 1971. I still have my copy, 35 years later.

It’s about a child whose cat has died, and his Mum and Dad help him to deal with it by asking him to think up good things about his cat. My favourite is number ten: “Barney is in the ground and he’s helping to grow flowers. You know, I said, that’s a pretty nice job for a cat.”

The tenth good thing meme is listing ten good things you think of someone who has died. Could be a family member, could be a friend. Could be a cat. I want to write about my Mum, who died last year in August…

My mum was

  1. Awfully considerate of our feelings, to the point of denying her own.
  2. Fond of craziness, like boiler suits and bell bottoms, crew cuts and gin.
  3. Incredibly loyal- you could have asked her as your friend to do absolutely anything. She had resources and used them to touch people.
  4. Obsessed with cooking stuff we’d like- long after the craze for pineapple-upside-down cake had passed.
  5. Able to do crosswords in an insanely fast time, and once won the national Scrabble tournament by accident. Pissed the others off no end!
  6. Able to sing in Afrikaans, French, German, Latin and English. She loved to sing. Oddly, it’s what I remember her mother doing, too.
  7. The granddaughter of the first man to own a car in Dundee, Scotland, which is pretty damned cool- although he had no-one to flip the bird at at stop streets.
  8. The woman who taught me how to sew, and didn’t mind her sons dressing up in her clothes. Sorry I ruined your Jaeger floral blouse, Mum!
  9. The adult who loved to share my music and film tastes, and was thrilled to sit drinking cappuccinos all day with me- she drank decaf, I drank caf, until my ears vibrated.
    And the tenth good thing?
  10. Well, it is that as the months go by, I forget the pain you felt, and the hurt I caused you, and I remember wonderful things. I love you, Mum. Your presence is at least as real as the virtual people reading this. I love you virtual people, too!

    So, in order to be a meme…
    If you want to:
    Cath, daveman and hmmmmm Leah, you could do this.
    If you don’t, that’s cool. If you want to turn it into something funny, that’s cool, too. My Mum woulda liked that!

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