A Eulogy for Patrick
I have won out against many a stubborn adversary in my time. I was able to make my first wife admit that I would never have been tempted by the scullery maid had she been more attentive to me in the first place. And on more than one occasion, after hours of haggling, I have persuaded a pauper that it was in his best interests to give me a ha'penny. But Sean's obstinacy is like nothing I have ever encountered. He insists on having a funeral for the late Patrick tomorrow, and tomorrow we shall have it, though it pains me more than I can say to spend more time and more money on a gentleman who made it his life's work to try my patience and drain my wallet.
Fortunately, not only do I know when I am beaten, but I know how to make the best of it. As part of our agreement, Sean volunteered that he would attend to the preparations for tomorrow's funeral provided that I would compose a few choice words to say about Patrick during the event.
And compose I did. I holed myself up in my study all day today, and with nothing but a bottle of rum for inspiration, I was able to piece together a statement on Patrick's tragic life that is at some times witty, at some times moving, and at all times faithful to the spirit of his personality and the mark that he left on the world. I touched on his remarkable abilities as a cribbage player, his difficulties pronouncing certain words and understanding certain basic concepts, the amusing tendency he had to sweat profusely in the presence of women, and his endearing habit of taking a surefire business proposition and turning it into a financial disaster. I mused upon his unique ability to take an hour to tell a story that would take another man five minutes, and his dogged persistence in believing that people were still listening to him talk long after they had given up.
None of this was good enough for Sean, of course. Indeed, he seemed quite vexed by my speech when I read it to him. But considering the sentimental nonsense that he is intending to read tomorrow at the funeral, I am not particularly inclined to think much of his advice as far as eulogies are concerned. After breaking into tears halfway through his attempt to read it, he handed me his speech and begged me to read it for myself instead. I have posted it below, for your amusement.
Oh woe is me. Woe, woe, woe. Dear, dear Patrick, you were my dearest friend. Apart from my second cousin Maureen. Oh, Patrick, I do not know how you died, but I know that you died bravely. Did the Kraken swallow you up as you rushed to save your companions from drowning? Or did Poseidon himself rise from the ocean and take you into his bosom? Oh, woe. [pause here to allow the audience to collect themselves]. Woe!
It goes on.
I am not looking forward to tomorrow.