Brent Gohde’s Funeral March

By - May 1st, 2003 02:52 pm
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By Brent Gohde

I don’t know about you, but when I was sixteen, it was a virtue to be more morbid than the next guy. At lunch one day, I think it was Eric Thompson who posited the question of what song we wanted played at our funeral. If there was a vote, I think Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” would have won. Pearl Jam’s “Alive” was too obvious. Unable to resist a punch line, even – I figured – in death, I went with Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box.”

Ha ha. Good one, Gohde. I’m sure we discussed for a minute the logistics of editing out the “s” word from the lyrics while it plays in church. But we forgot about it, went to geometry, got beat up in gym, and at the end of the day, headed to the parking lot. Cliques parked in their own unofficially designated areas each day, so we were all together. And my friends and I would have been tuned to Lazer 103. We started the engines at the same time, and what song was on, but Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box.” All of us opened our doors, put one foot on the pavement, looked over our roofs at each other. “Dude, Gohde’s totally gonna die.”

But as it happens, God doesn’t tip you off via commercial radio when your time has come. That only happens in horror films and college level creative writing assignments. But I persevered, thanks in part to extremely defensive driving on the way home. And since then, I’ve lightened up more and more. If you’d asked me again a few years ago, I would have said “Spiritual,” this beautiful song by Spain, later recorded by Johnny Cash. My friend’s band also covered it, and I drunkenly made him promise me he would play it at my funeral. It would bring the house down. A plea to Jesus from a man who doesn’t want to die alone? Not a dry eye in the house. Oh, baby. Now that’s a funeral.

More recently that would have given way to straight up not-tap-dancing-around-the-subject-at-hand Joy Division, just because I really liked Joy Division for a while. But I have this awful image of my grandma having to cover her ears. So maybe I should just defer to my grandma on this. But New Order sounds nicer these days. Yes, a nice funeral-slash-dance party. And you all can have a great time, and I’ll… well… the odd thing is this: I’ll care.

I’d love to report that it makes no never mind to me, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” or Christina Aguilera, I’ll never know the difference. But it turns out there’s still a very self-involved part of me that demands a decent soundtrack to accompany the weeping and gnashing of teeth of the thousands of mourners who will certainly throw themselves at my casket/urn and regale the assembled masses with eulogies of my genius and courage. Hymns schmymns, let there be rock. Oh, man. I haven’t changed a bit. I’m going to go sift through my Jesus & Mary Chain records for the perfect closer. RIP Layne Staley.

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