It was ten o’clock on Saturday morning when Pam got a call from her daughter Suzie. It interrupted her preparations for Stan’s sixtieth birthday party.
“Calm down, Honey. Why are you crying?” asked Pam.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” accused Suzie.
“I told you about it last week,” said Pam.
“You waited that long?” cried Suzie.
Pam brushed the hair from her face as she sat on a chair in the kitchen. “It was his idea, if I’m honest. He’ll never admit it, but it’s something he’s always wanted.”
“He wanted this? That’s sick,” spat Suzie.
“You know your dad. He wants things done his way,” said Pam.
“And you let him?”
“Of course. Any excuse for a party.”
Pam heard a voice in the background behind Suzie. It was her son-in-law, John. “She must be in denial.”
“What’s wrong?” asked Pam.
“Mom, dad’s dead.”
Pam looked outside at Stan cleaning the barbecue on the back patio. “He looks pretty cute for a dead guy.”
“Mom!” Suzie burst into tears.
“Suzie,” said Pam in her soothing mom voice, “I’m looking at him right now. He’s very much alive.”
Suzie sniffled. “Are you sure?”
“I can get him on the phone if you want.”
“Please,” replied Suzie.
Within seconds, Stan was on the line. “What’s wrong, Suzie-Q?” he asked.
“You’re obituary’s in the Saturday paper,” cried Suzie.
“It is?” Stan exchanged a perplexed look with Pam.
“I read it twice just to make sure,” said Suzie.
Stan looked suspiciously at his wife. “Read it to me,” he said.
Stan and Pam shared the phone. They heard the crumpling of newspaper before Suzie’s voice returned. “It reads: ‘Stan Monroe, beloved husband to Pam, loving father to Suzie and Jason, passed away suddenly the day before his sixtieth birthday’…”
“Skip to the end,” interrupted Stan.
“Okay. ‘In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Jason Monroe’s Dreams Foundation.’ That little sheep turd!” fumed Suzie.
“Are you saying Jason put your obituary in the paper?” asked Pam.
“That’s precisely what your son did,” replied Stan.
“I’m gonna kill him,” announced Suzie.
“Not if I get to him first,” added Pam.
“Actually, it’s kinda funny,” said Stan.
“What?!?” shouted mother and daughter in unison.
“You gotta admit, it’s clever,” said Stan.
“If by clever you mean dragging me through the depths of despair from the loss of my father which happened to be the machinations of an adolescently minded thirty year old, then yeah, it’s clever,” fumed Suzie.
“I’ll have to remember that. I may use it myself sometime,” mused Stan.
“You would,” said Pam.
“What do you mean by that?” asked Stan.
“It means,” said Pam, “Jason got his poor judgement from me, because you clearly still have yours.”