What pleasant euphemisms we use these days. Until now, I had noticed that, more and more, people would say that someone had passed. They didn’t pass away but rather they passed. I’m not sure what they passed and I don’t want to know. What I am certain they didn’t pass was the cemetery or the crematorium. What is the premium we gain by this economy of words to shorten death, neither by dying, nor by passing away but now by just passing?
Where is Uncle Fred? I haven’t seen him for weeks. Oh, Uncle Fred, he passed. Passed? Passed what? He passed for living until a few weeks ago but now he passes for not-living. These are the same people who economize by asking me for my social instead of my social security number. What is your social, they ask me? On a scale of one to ten, it’s about a two. How about you? What’s your social?
Forget passing. Forget social. We can now transition. So, how are you Curmudgeon? I’m transitioning, thank you. I could also be trainspotting or transforming or translyvaniaing. I may be doing all of these together.
In earlier days, I kicked the bucket; crossed over; bought the farm; took a dirt nap; pushed up daisies; rested in peace; went to meet my maker; shuffled off this mortal coil; slept with the fishes; ran down the curtain; cashed in; checked out; danced the last dance; played the last hand; gave up the ghost; got a one-way ticket and became living-challenged.
I used to be deceased, extinct, inanimate, stone dead, demised, expired, stiff, belly up, buried, cold, departed, defunct and done for.
I bought a pine condo, went into the fertilizer business and returned to the ground.
I paid Charon’s fare, crossed the river Styx and wandered the Elysian Fields.
But now, I do not die. Nor do I pass. Now I transition.
He was a comedian; it’s not the first time he died transitioned.
–Mark Russell’s epitaph
P.S. Harper Faulkner has demanded a 10% inspiration fee for this post. I would just send flowers.