Strict Instructions for My Funeral - My All-Important Legacy - Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling (2011)

My All-Important Legacy

Strict Instructions for My Funeral

WHOEVER IS closest to me when I die, here are the instructions for my funeral. You might think this is presumptuous, but consider it a favor to you, because at the time of my death, you will be so distracted with grief that your ability to plan will be compromised, and I don’t want my funeral to be a thrown-together disaster.*

Dress code: chic devastated.

None of my exes are allowed to attend. Distracting. Weird. (Okay, the only way I would even consider an ex attending is if he were completely, horrifically devastated. Like, when he heard I died, it made him take a good hard look at his life and his choices, and he turned Buddhist or something.)

No current wives or girlfriends of my exes are allowed to attend. This part is really, for real, non-negotiable. They’ll just use the opportunity to look all hot in black.

No one can use my funeral as the inciting incident for their own romantic comedy.

My a cappella group from college will try to perform. I forgive them for trying, but this is not allowed to happen. I don’t just mean the group currently singing at my college. No assembly of past members or anything is allowed to sing. You must be vigilant about this. With a blink of an eye, I can see a group of tearful women starting a caterwauling rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You.” Be really mindful of this; they will find loopholes.

No one may use this occasion to debut original music they wrote. I hate original music.

There should be food at my funeral. I hate getting invited to something and there’s no food. Something tasteful and light. No pasta. I’m serious. I will climb out of my coffin if anyone brings a baked ziti. Actually, no hot food at all. Small savory finger sandwiches, scones, coffee. Basically an English tea, but I don’t want anything stacked on a tiered platter. That’s pretentious.

People can text, but no phone calls. That’s rude. And when I say you can text, I mean, hard-core furtive texting, like using one hand and with your BlackBerry hidden in your purse.

If people speak, they need to follow guidelines or this will become a free-for-all. I have a lot of comedy writer friends. Don’t let them turn this into a roast for me. You know how I feel about roasts. I want no moments of mirth at all at this thing. No edgily remembering something stupid I did to show that we can all have a big, cathartic laugh.

Actually, no catharsis.

No irony at all. I mean it. I spent my entire professional career dealing in irony. I want an almost cringe-inducingly earnest ceremony.

Please, no religious stuff. I kind of insist no one mention God or anything at my funeral. I’m not making some big atheist statement, but I want this to be solemn because people are so upset I’m dead, and I don’t want to share the spotlight with God.

No candles. I hate candles. This isn’t a sex scene from Grey’s Anatomy.

If Steve Carell doesn’t show up, I want my children and my children’s children to make note of it.

There should be a gift bag for people when they leave. Inside of it should include: (1) a photo of me when I was my most beautiful, put through an old-timey photo process and displayed in a heart-shaped pewter frame. It should look like the kind of photo a soldier carried around with him during the Civil War; (2) an energy bar or a trendy body spray from whichever company is sponsoring the funeral; (3) a copy of a drawing I did when I was little of what I wanted to be when I grew up, which was an astronaut. Under the drawing should be written, in cursive, “She finally found her wings” or “… and we have lift-off”; and (4) a letter from the president talking about my impact on the creative community. If the president happens to be a woman that year, she can slant things that way, how I inspired her to believe in her own dreams and stuff.

Do all of this and you will know that I will rest in eternal peace. If that’s important to you.

*Thrown-Together Disaster Funeral is my new HGTV show. It’s a makeover funeral show where three flamboyant gay guys and a judgmental sassy broad (think Wanda Sykes) crash a tacky funeral and fix it. Wanda’s catchphrase is “Nuh-huh. Everyone out of this church. This funeral is a disaster.