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Married . WithOUT Children

“I think I’ve found a job that will pay me a lot of money and get me out of debt,” Marianne informed me on the phone early one morning.

“Really?” I asked, curious to hear her latest scheme. “Is it doing something you can tell your mother about?”

“Of course,” she assured me. “I’ve got three kids – I’m not going to do anything stupid.”



It wasn’t that I thought my best friend would ever engage in any kind of illicit activity, but Marianne has held probably every job under the sun and is always on the lookout for new and lucrative ways to make money.

“So . what is it this time?” I questioned.



“A funeral director,” she replied.

I nearly dropped the phone.

“A FUNERAL director?” I said incredulously. “You don’t know the first THING about funeral directing!”

“Sure I do,” she said confidently. “It’s like being a party planner, but the party is just really sad.”

It crossed my mind that perhaps she had something a little stronger than cream in her coffee. .

But apparently she had seen an ad in the newspaper and had arranged for an interview. I’d heard a lot of Marianne’s whacky ideas, but this one definitely took the cake.

“Besides, I have all the clothes for it,” she continued. “Half my wardrobe is black – I won’t even have to go shopping!”

“I don’t think black bustiers or thigh-high boots are considered the appropriate dress at a funeral home,” I pointed out. “Anyway, I think you have to go to school for that.”

Marianne thought for a moment.

“WHY?” she said finally. “It’s not like being a doctor – I certainly can’t HURT anybody. .”

She sounded dead set on this new idea.

“You couldn’t even stand to see the little frogs being dissected in high school biology!” I pointed out, desperately trying to think of something to talk her out of it.

“I’m not going to perform AUTOPSIES, you dummy,” she laughed. “I’m simply going to make all the arrangements and take care of the details.”

The idea still scared me.

“Like, I could put the makeup on the bodies and make them look really good,” she went on. “I used to be a salesperson at the dime store cosmetic counter, you know.”

I envisioned a family’s horror when they saw dear ol’ grandma going to her final resting place sporting thick black eyeliner and siren red lips. .

“You’ll come home from work every day smelling like formaldehyde,” I warned, trying to appeal to her sense of vanity.

“I smelled like dirty diapers for years,” she countered. “It doesn’t get much worse than that.”

I tried to imagine a funeral service arranged by Marianne: . some heavy metal music playing softly in the background . Marianne greeting the mourners dressed in a black mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels . the deceased propped up in a chair with a Budweiser in his hand .

“I don’t know,” I told her, now really leery of the whole idea. “I suppose it’s better than being a grave digger, but can’t you think of something a little more upbeat? Like, maybe, a trapeze artist with a local circus?”

Marianne must have taken my advice to heart because a few days later she called up with a new idea.

“Now THIS job is perfect for me,” she gushed. “I would be GREAT at it. .”

She had found an advertisement for a position as a talent scout for the Chippendale dancers.

“Well, it definitely would be more fun than funeral directing,” I agreed. “But I think your husband is going to kill you. .”

New Castle resident Heidi Rice’s column appears every Friday in the Post Independent. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com.


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