Letters to the Editor

From the week of May 23, 2002

Anyhow, enough. Chotzinoff should just keep writing slice-of-life columns. I really enjoy them.

Roger Migchelbrink

Paint the Town Dead

Cut! Regarding Michael Roberts's "Dead Lines," in the April 18 issue:

I wrote my obituary today.

No, I'm not facing a life-threatening illness, nor am I a Type A, always planning ahead.

It's the most recent exhibition of greed by the Post/News and their lack of understanding of what their readers consider newsworthy that has precipitated this exercise.

As a reader of first, the front page; next, the letters to the editor; third, the obituaries (no doubt thanks to my Irish heritage); and, finally, the rest of the paper, I saw their April 2 announcement about charging for death notices and wondered, "How much will my obituary cost my family? And am I worth it?"

So I drafted a bare-bones version of my life and then figured the approximate cost. It came to $416, no doubt plus tax. (And is that $416 per Denver newspaper?) Too costly, must trim.

Okay, let's get started. "Born October 17, 1943." Shorten that one: "1943." Ah, that's better. I can feel the savings.

It would be nice to include my birth name or the given names of my parents, seeing as they had something to do with my existence. But, no, too expensive. Ax Mom and Dad.

Schools attended. Can't do both. Luckily, Avila College is only two words, while Michigan State University is three. The catch? Hardly anyone has heard of Avila, absolutely no one knows it's in Kansas City, and of course no one remembers that Kansas City is in Missouri. Oh, my, the meter is ticking. Forget my education.

Go on to what I've done with my life. Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; Sexual Assault Information Network of Michigan; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Denver Chapter. I see a pattern here. Subconsciously, I've been drawn to organization with long names. No Qwest for me.

Next, marriage. Well, finally, a break! My husband is still alive, so no need for "He preceded her in death" and all the charges those words entail. Children next. Downside: four of them, each in a different city. Upside: short first names and sons with same last name. (Note to daughter: Yet another reason you should have kept your maiden name.)

Grandchildren? Yes, two, but each has a seven-letter first name and different last names.

Let's see, what else? Other survivors? Far too many siblings to list, especially as they live in separate places.

But here's an unexpected plus. I didn't die at a hospital -- the HMO denied coverage -- so good savings there. No church, funeral home or cemetery for me, either. Just burn me up and use me for compost.

Tally results. Life summary that gives a feel for who I was and how I spent my years -- out of my league financially. Condensed, affordable version, as follows: "Judy Trompeter, 1943-2002."

I wish I were dead in March.

Judy Trompeter

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