Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Humor is Grave Business

By Robin J. Steinweg

My mother and I visited the monument company to choose a headstone for my dad’s grave. We’ve cried enough tears the past five months to start a new river. We miss him. We know the verse from Psalm 116 that says “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” This is a solemn undertaking. Both of us recognize that. So how is it that so many things strike us funny at the wrong time?

The proprietor took us to the back room to see samples. A prominent sign displayed this boast:
“We guarantee all of our headstones for life.”
(Whose? Think about it.)

Mom has a propensity for popping off poetry at a moment’s notice. She dreamed this gem one night, and it was true of my dad: “I am a steamfitter, it’s the life I have led; stopping and starting and bumping my head.”

Mom wondered if we should engrave that on the back of the stone (which otherwise will be as bald as Dad’s head was). I mentioned it’s only fair to include a verse for Mom, too, since if the Lord tarries she might share the same resting place. She didn’t miss a beat: “Roses are red, violets are blue—I’m happy now, ‘cause I’m with you.”

Do you know any amusing epitaphs? I found a few:

Here lies Johnny Yeast. Pardon me for not rising.
I told you I was sick
Here lies Lester Moore—four slugs from a forty-four. No Les No More.
Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake—stepped on the gas instead of the brake.
I knew this would happen
Beneath this grassy mound now rests one Edgar Oscar Earl, who to another hunter looked exactly like a squirrel.
Owen Moore: Gone away owin’ more than he would pay
She always said her feet were killing her, but nobody believed her.
Here lies Ann Mann, who lived an old maid but died an old Mann

Johnny was a chemist, but he ain’t no more; what he thought was H2O was H2SO4.

On an atheist’s stone: All dressed up and no place to go


  1. Robin, I'm glad you and your mom are able to laugh sometimes.

    Your post inspired me to go to Google and look up some more funny epitaphs. It's an interesting sort of way to start the day. Here's another from the grave of John Penny:

    Reader if cash thou are
    In want of any
    Dig 4 deep
    And thou wilt find a Penny.

  2. Funny! And you're right, Lori, it is an interesting way to start a day. I'd love to have something amusing on my headstone to lighten the day of a mourner there... if folks still walk among the resting.