Origins of Funeral Sayings II



Following on from the dazzling success of the previous Sayings, I thought I’d take a moment away from loansharking to provide you with some more funeral related small potatoes which have only just come to light thanks to some enthusiastic foragers.

As before, the author believes these expressions and idioms to be genuine and still active in their countries of origin but would like to add that if the authenticity of some is shown to be in doubt he will refuse to name names.

“The dead are the deadest.”
(Norwegian proverb.)

“If one undertaker gazes directly into the eyes of another both will have sleepless nights and gnawing anxiety for thirty days.” 
(The Odyssey, Homer.)

“Why does man die? He dies so that others may live and most frequently from cardiac failure.”
(From the memoirs of the great American surgeon, Alfred Blalock, 1899-1964.)

“Into the valley of death rode the six hundred but only a third returned their client satisfaction surveys.”
(From the minutes of a Dignity Funeral Services boardroom meeting, 2001; with thanks A.D.)

“At all times remain poised and be mindful of the implications of slouching. A slouching undertaker makes his mourners uneasy, it begets them to be wild-eyed and shaky and mealy-mouthed.” 
(Excerpt from the Leeds Funeralman’s Almanac, 1903.)

“Adequate measures save face.” 
(Motto written over the door of El Pompe Funebri, Naples.)

“While the eel poses for a still-life the coffin maker plays a sweet tune on his flute.” 
(Norwegian proverb; no explanation necessary.)

“Elongated trapezoids don’t always get a big laugh.”
(Taken from Einstein’s The World as I See It, 1949.)

“Into the valley of death rode I and it was pricey.” 
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson.)

“Happy the souls who first believed, by radioactive isotopes cleaved.”
(Inscribed on a headstone in a churchyard near Kiev, Russia)

“An upturned life is righted in the box.” 
(Mark Twain, 1905.)

“Flowers spelling “MOM” will be stood upside down by mistake and spell “WOW” and the funeral director will be pulled apart by horses.”
(Nostradamus in his book Les Propheties, written in 1555. This has not yet happened to the author’s knowledge.)

“Here, the analog of life and death, my dears: copy, paste, insert, and delete.”
(Inventor Charles Babbage’s speech to the Royal Society in 1816.)

“A filled box means not all the features are working.”
(Windows Media Centre, 2016)

“When you die your head pops off like a champagne cork.”
(When We Were Very Young: A.A. Milne's Pooh Classics.)

“Zoroastrians used to leave their dead in open places for the birds to eat, but that was a long time ago.”

Well, once again I hope you enjoyed this little selection and trust it didn’t cause too much consternation among the more sensitive. Don’t forget if you hear anything else worthy of recording for our next installment, do get in touch but remember we have one secretary who does all the typing, so please be patient. All that’s left for me to do is bid you farewell and leave you with my favourite Dr Seuss quote which goes something like this: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” 

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