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12:22 am - Thurs 6/9/05
Everyone Has More To Them Than You Know

Everyone Has More To Them Than You Know

Chris M's funeral was yesterday, at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Santa Monica Boulevard.

There were about 15 of us from the bookstore in attendance.

I'd debated going at all (And debated how I'd get there if I did go).

I didn't make up my mind to go till mid-morning (The funeral was at noon), and by that time, the only option left was to drive (Afterwards, when I got home, I had to park on the wrong side of the street--I'll have to move my car before 8:00 a.m. tomorrow--but told myself that'll be a perfect time to take a trip down to the do-it-yourself carwash on 3rd. But anyway...).

The reason I decided to go was that, should I get hit by a bus on the way to work or develop cancer of the everything or what-have-you, I'd want some contingent of people from the bookstore at my funeral, so it seemed only fair that I show up for Chris.

I know where Hollywood Forever Cemetery is--It's not that far away--but for some reason, I left my apartment really early, and got there a half-hour before the noon service.

I didn't see anyone from the bookstore initially, so I wandered around in front of the chapel a bit, not sure of what to do with myself, then went in.

In the lobby/vestibule area, there was a guest book on the left, which I didn't sign right away, along with a stack of programs.

Tables were set up right before you walked into the chapel, with cards, pictures, and assorted memorabilia from Chris's life.

As people wandered around, rock music was piped in through the chapel speakers (I didn't recognize what was playing, but according to the memorial program, in addition to the Chili Peppers, Chris liked Slipknot, Tenacious D, and Bad Religion, amongst other groups). I liked that whoever organized the service, they thought about Chris and what he would have liked, rather than make it a more somber, "dignified" affair.

Turns out Chris and me--Or "CJ" and me, as his family and friends called him--had a few more things in common than I realized: He liked George Carlin and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and so do I.

The casket was at the front of the chapel.

When I saw it was open, I was torn--Frankly, I wanted to keep my distance (In recent years, I've become more than a bit phobic about death), but for some reason, that seemed wrong. Disrespectful, somehow.

So I made me way to the front, behind two women I assumed were family members, to view "the body".

Again, I was happy to see that Chris was dressed casually--in a t-shirt and baseball cap--and not in a suit and tie. Nice to think that someone thought about what Chris would have wanted, if he'd had a say in the matter.

(It was both amusing and creepy that he was wearing a Walkman which was actually on--You could hear sound coming from the earphones. It was the way Chris looked in life, to be sure--anytime I saw him when he wasn't working he had his Walkman on--but I just found it...unsettling somehow.)

I haven't seen a lot of examples of the mortician's art close-up, thank goodness, so it's hard for me to say whether he "looked good" or not. It was recognizably Chris, but more like an exhibit from Madame Tussauds wax museum than the kid I knew (It also hit me, with my own particular frame-of-reference, that he looked like he was made up to go onstage).

I hope this doesn't sound gross, but I was tempted to touch him. I think it was part emotional--I started feeling very sad as I looked down at him--and part macabre curiousity.

But I didn't. Cause I thought that would have been kind of weird.

I made my way to the back of the chapel, when Katie M. grabbed my arm from the second to the last pew on the left (Katie works up in the music section at the bookstore).

So I sat with Katie and her boyfriend, Carson, as people continued to filter in.

I'm not sure exactly when the service got started--I had a feeling it was a little late--but it was a very casual affair. A female funeral director came out and did an M.C. thing, to get us from one part of the service to another, but there was no minister and no sermon, just family members sharing their memories of "CJ", a video montage of pictures, then the floor was opened to anyone who had something they wanted to say, then we were dismissed (The "viewing" was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was then changed to last night, which I thought was strange).

I didn't think I was going to cry at the service, but I did: Chris had moved to California a couple years ago, and had been living with his Uncle Jimmy.

And when his uncle, towards the end of his remarks, tearfully said "I don't know what I'm going to do without you"...well, that was tough.

I haven't been to a lot of funerals, but I thought it was a nice service.

It reminded me of something I think I need to be reminded of more often: Everyone has more to them than you know.

Now I'm embarrassed that I basically dismissed Chris in here as a "nice kid" who "wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed"; a chapel full of people at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery indicated he was quite a bit more than that.


I received my computer on Monday.

When I realized I'd misread the card the UPS driver had left on Friday, and they could deliver the computer anytime from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., I actually called work and told them I might be late (I really wanted this computer!).

But it came early enough that I was at least able to get everything out of boxes before I had to head off to work.

It took awhile before I got everything set up. My printer's startup cd didn't cover Windows XP, so I had to download a printer driver from the Epson website. And it was awhile before I realized that my Freenet email wasn't working right because I'd made a typo on "smtp" or "smpt" or whatever-it-is.

But everything's good now. Or at least close to good--Somewhat to my chagrin, things seem a little slower on this computer.

Anyway, I'm back online.

But the hour has grown late, and I not only have to be up early tomorrow--I'm pretty much always up early--but I have to be up early and out the door.

So it's off to sleep I go.

Nitey nite...


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