It seems that I’ve traversed a line of some sort, and passed a milestone detectable only by elite marketing professionals. Age-wise, I am somewhere in my forties (I make a conscious effort not to keep precise records anymore), and I was as of this afternoon feeling reasonable healthy. I returned from a quick run around in the park with my dog, and opened the mailbox to find a single item addressed personally to me.
The front of what is an 8″ x 14″ card, folded in fours, pictures the sun setting over a gently sloping meadow, dotted with trees. In the foreground are clusters of dandelions, blowing in the breeze. There’s a small, curving path through the meadow, with tracks as might be left by a farmer’s small tractor.
Or, on second thought, by the cart carrying his corpse. Large white letters on the upper left tell the recipient of this card that, “You’ve traveled many roads to get where you are today ….” The logo in the lower right of the picture identifies the sender: St. Michael’s Cemetery.
Unfolding the card reveals much information on amenities at my would-be future abode. St. Michael’s is not just a “warehouse for the past” (how could you think such a thing?); it is instead a place that “celebrates life.” There are concerts during the summer, and on Valentine’s Day too. It’s a great place to “share memories with friends and family members.” There are monthly billing options and you can get started with just 10% down. It’s unclear whether heat and hot water are included.
I don’t know if this is a one-off solicitation, or whether I can expect a steady flow of graveyard advertising from here on out. Now, I try to remain conscious of the fact that death is only ever a moment away, and each morning presents a new day for which one ought to be grateful. I would not say that the prospect of the Grim Reaper’s arrival makes me feel sanguine, by any means, but bearing him in mind can be bracing and helpful in its way.
Having to deal with his junk mail, however, seems a bit excessive.