Mortified 2: Return of Mortified
So, a little over a year ago, the Mortified you’ve all come to know and love(?) disappeared without warning. There are reasons for that listed below, but, before I tell you where I’ve been, I’d like to tell you where we’re going, so you can sleep at night again. I can’t wait to dive back into telling stories about funeral service, the South and Southern culture, and the general weirdness of growing up the way I did. I’ll also throw in some updates, links to some of my old pieces for those who’ve never seen them, and funny things by other people, so maybe you’ll discover some previously unknown (to you) humor writers. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
Now here’s what’s been happening over the past year or so:
Molding Minds and Changing Lives
Right after I posted my old Second City Network Christmas piece in December 2021, I officially became a remote adjunct instructor at the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service. Here’s what’s great about that: I love it, and I get to talk about funeral service a lot which I enjoy more than I probably should. Here’s what’s not great about that: It took so much of my time to figure out how to set up my courses and actually teach them that I could not keep up Mortified or its accompanying podcast. Sorry about that.
(NOTE: With teaching bringing back so many school memories—crazy things like learning how to embalm using the popliteal artery if you can even imagine!—the next few posts will be mortuary-college-themed and will include stories of my own personal experience as well as legends I have heard from folks before my time.)
The TFDA Comes a-Callin’
In June of 2022 my family and I attended the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association annual convention. As a child, because the funeral directors convention fell around the same time each year, I would regularly celebrate my birthday there which I’m seeing now is not a normal sentence for anyone to type. When I turned 13, for instance, the dadgum Forester Sisters, sang “Happy Birthday” to me at Tuesday’s Grand Banquet in front of everyone, so eat that all you Forester-Heads out there.
Anyway, on Monday of last year’s convention, I turned 40 years old. Now listen, I’ve been around funeral stuff my entire life, so I’m accustom to a lot of things that maybe most people aren’t. Not a lot creeps me out, but even with that it’s not lost on me how straight-up weird it was to celebrate my 40th surrounded by funeral professionals and hearses and caskets and embalming instruments and chemicals.
The big birthday isn’t why I’m mentioning this; though, I will accept monetary gifts if anyone wants to send them. I’m not proud. No, I bring it up because on that very birthday I was appointed to represent West Tennessee on the TFDA Board of Directors. I don’t have a ton of bucket list items outside of maybe being the first ever amateur host of Saturday Night Live (Lorne? I’ve got characters), but this position serves as the first step to checking off one of the few I do have.
Takin’ This Show on the Road!
Speaking of funeral directors conventions, in October we travelled to Baltimore to eat seafood, do nerdy English-major stuff, apparently look at Old Bay Seasoning apparel, and for me to speak to funeral professionals from all over North America and Europe at the National Funeral Directors Association’s International Convention and Expo on the topic of Grief, Humor, and Healing. (If anyone would like to hear that or other presentations I’m available both virtually and in-person, just ask, and let’s figure something out.)
It was a simultaneously terrifying and joyous experience. I had the president of the National Association of Funeral Directors, a Canadian who “whoooooped” loudly when I mentioned the Kids in the Hall, and a couple of nice ladies from the west coast who specialize in human composting (yeah, you read that right) attend my session and who seemed to enjoy it. I’d love to present at this year’s convention in Vegas. I’ve got some ideas. Fingers crossed!
A random attendee totally enthralled by THE PEOPLE WHO IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED ME BECAUSE NO ONE TOOK ANY PICTURES DURING MY SESSION. Anyway, imagine she’s watching my presentation and is very much engaged because she totally would have been.
In January of this year I appeared on Undertaking: The Podcast where I discussed funeral service, comedy, joke obituaries (jokebituaries?), and all kinds of things with two funeral directors from Indiana. Also, it just occurred to me that I did not ask them if they know Larry Bird. Oh, well. You can listen to that particular episode below.
Here’s an Old Piece of Mine That I Like
People You Really Don’t Want to Hear Say, “I’m Not a Magician” originally published by The Weekly Humorist.
Here’s a Piece Someone Else Wrote That I Like
Audrey Burges (who has a new book out that you should definitely go buy, like, now!) is a friend of mine and one of the earliest, most ardent supporters of Mortified. She is also a wonderfully talented humor writer.
Signs That You’re Ready to Wear Taupe published by McSweeney’s.