On old age, babies, and funerals (mine?) in the Philippines

In a couple of days I will hit a major milestone – the age that Social Security deems I can retire early. Of course before my co-workers begin the celebration, I should say that I am not retiring now, but apparently I could if I wanted to live on the pittance that I would get from a 3/4 Social Security payment.

Once again this experience reminds me that I am an old fart living the dream, married to a slightly less elderly Filipina and that for the next few months our ages will be the exact opposite of each other (62 and 26).

Like many old farts I am in contact with my high school friends via Facebook. Since at 21 I moved as far away from my home in Philadelphia as I possibly could and still remain in the continental US, I have not seen most of these people in over 40 years.

Last night I was looking at my long list of high school Facebook “friends” and thought of a friend I hadn’t seen on FB. I did a quick search. Yep, you guessed it; he died two years ago. This is the second time in six months that I have searched for a friend that I’d wondered about for decades and the second time I found that the only viable reason someone isn’t on Facebook, is because they’re dead.

I found that the only viable reason someone isn’t on Facebook, is because they’re dead.

Janet came home from work and I told her I was a bit sad at my discovery. She knows me well enough to know that I was feeling my own mortality and reminded me I am healthy and that most importantly my otin still works and consequently we will have a baby and that between my young wife and child I will remain young for many years to come. Either that, I thought,  or they will put me in my grave quickly – but I kept that to myself.

In fact, I recently had a conversation with another high school friend on Facebook (this one is actually still alive) who is very happy that I have Janet in my life but implored me to not have children. After all, she reminded me how old I would be when a new baby hits 21.

“I may be old, but I can still do the math,” I reminded her. “The good news is I may not even live till my current kids are 21,” I declared hopefully.

I reminded her that ultimately no one knows. My mother, in great shape, died at 40 when I was 19 and my father 100 bills overweight is still alive and cantankerous at 85.

This led Janet and I to a conversation about her plans about a baby. She is confident that she can control the characteristics of said baby and so here is her plan.

Naturally, the baby will be female.

She will have my skin and nose – a given if you ask Filipinas. This is the reason they married us – our long noses and pasty skin color.

The baby will have Janet’s eyes, hair color and texture. No bald babies for us!

The baby will have Janet’s figure.

However, the baby will have my loboot (ass). Janet is constantly complaining about her loboot (personally I like it very much) and wishes that I could miraculously “give me your loboot.” I wouldn’t mind giving her 10-20 of my pounds. If anyone has any suggestions about how to make such a transplant, let me know. But in the meantime I am tasked to give the baby my big loboot.

With the baby to be’s looks being now decided (who needs an ultrasound) it was time for us both to scan Facebook for any new and  essential information of the day. We stumbled on a question about a elderly German living in the Philippines, near death and broke, and what could be done about burial costs.

Naturally this let to a conversation about my impending demise. I repeated that I preferred cremation and that Janet ought to keep it simple and not spend a bunch of money on me, since after all I will be dead.

“But where will I visit you if we cremate?” Janet asked. This is essential to a Filipina and a Catholic.

“Well I guess you can keep the urn if you want. Then you don’t have to visit me. I’ll be with you.”

“I don’t like that,” she replied. “Then your spirit will be watching me constantly.”

“Then scatter my ashes,” I replied as a reasonable Westerner.

“But then there will be no place to visit you.” We were back to the beginning.

“Well, bury some of the ashes under a tree.” I am nothing if not a great problem solver.

“Not the same,” she said.

“Whatever you want then. I’ll be dead. Bury me, so you can visit me.”

“This is best,” she replied. “Then people can see you in death. How many days should the viewing be?”

“What! No way.” In Jewish tradition we are much more reasonable (and sanitary). There are no open coffins and the deceased is buried within 48 hours.

“Then how will family be able to say their goodbyes. In the Philippines they pass the coffin and touch you.”

“I don’t want anyone to be touching me when I am dead!”

“Then you can get an expensive coffin with a glass cover.”

“I don’t want anyone to see me when I’m dead. I’m not that great looking alive. Let’s go back to cremation.”

“But then I can’t visit you.” We were back to the beginning again.

“But I don’t want to spend a bunch of money on a plot; it’s a waste.”

“In the Philippines you can rent the plot. 500 pesos a year.”

“That’s pretty cheap (about $12/year). Forever?”

“Oh no. Only for five years.”

“Then what?”

“They dig you up and take your bones and put them in a small box.”

So I have made a decision. You’ve heard it here first. I am not dying!




2 thoughts on “On old age, babies, and funerals (mine?) in the Philippines”

  1. Enjoy life and don’t think of dying because it costs a lot of pennies.
    Life maybe short but the happiness we experienced on the earth is worth living.

    YES to Live , Yes to Life, Yes to Love , Yes to laugh = HAPPINESS ! 🙂 <3 🙂

  2. Dave, it sounds like your debate with Janet could go on forever-so there’s the answer-don’t present the problem-therefore there’s no solution needed. Oh, my!! Retirement will call me to the Phl the day I qualify for that steady income-it’s a must on my bucket list-so my wife is definately on board for that.

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