We still miss Helen Sclair, the Cemetery Lady, for whom September and October were the high holidays. For this brief period in the year, everyone considered cemeteries and tombstones to be as much fun as she did herself.
Part of her collection comprised a big collection of Funny Epitaph books, a genre of literature that goes back as far as the first humans to say “Huh! They sure did things weird back then.” She did not have the world’s largest collection of these things because she didn’t really approve of them. They collected funny verses and misspellings without footnotes telling where these verses were supposedly found. The temptation to create phony ones was completely irresistible, she felt, and considered many of the best ones to be complete frauds. It wasn’t that each authors was perpetrating a fraud: some of them simply stole their material from other books without checking it, which was almost worse.
In Helen’s honor, therefore, I am presenting a collection of totally fake epitaphs for some frequent Book Fair visitors. Writing their epitaphs makes me feel they are all already dead, which saves me the time it would take to kill them later on.
Here lies Jean, not very old,
Who said, “There’s just a little mold.”
What happened? Everything went black!
Sue crammed big books in every sack
And watched us haul what she could pack
Then said, “I want those bags all back.”
She brought us so much
Killing her was a sin;
She said “Here’s what’s left:
We had book dealers in.”
Joe here died for the exclamation
“Buying these books IS my donation!”
Milt said, “You folks are awful dense;
You’d sell more books at fifty cents.
Your customers all love to save.”
We put him in a two-bit grave.
Al , intercepted at the wastebasket,
Now waits idly in this casket.
He said, “I was throwing these away;
No one would buy them anyway.”
Here’s Uncle Blogsy, that old grey fox
Buried in a banana box.
He might’ve lived longer if he’d smiled
But the very suggestion drove him wild.
And you thought all I could writer were Valentines.