My Obituary

I was riding on the train the other day, after a long weekend at home, when a familiar thought crossed my mind—death. Logically, like anyone who spends a great deal of time thinking about dying, the majority of my profound contemplation was spent considering how my obituary would read in The New York Times. The following is the most accurate version I could conceive.


Sir Corey Lambert, Best Friend of the World, Dies

Associated Press

Sir Corey Gerard Lambert died early Thursday morning at his Lake Michigan mansion in North Muskegon, Michigan. Although autopsy results have been deemed inconclusive, the astounding majority of experts believe the cause of death was "sheer awesomeness."

Sir Corey Lambert will be best remembered for his seemingly never-ending string of bestselling novels and his ability to fly really really super fast.

From his time at Harvard Medical School in the early 2000s until his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame early last week, Sir Lambert has been an unwavering force in world industry, journalism, commerce, education, entertainment, athletics, and sorcery.

"He was so far ahead of his time in every possible category ever categorized," said the Dalai Lama via translator from his residence in Lhasa, Tibet. "If I could think of one word to describe what Sir Corey meant to this world, it would be a combination of all of the best words ever spoken."

Widely considered the Albus Dumbledore of real people, Sir Lambert advised every noteworthy leader on earth and in several other dimensions during the Google Universe Conference for Peace and Prosperity in 2045. The aforementioned treaty is openly considered the single most important event since the creation of man.

Sir Lambert is succeeded in death by four wives (Julia Roberts Lambert, Rebecca Romijn Lambert, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Lambert), forty-two children (see Section H, Page 13), eighty-four grandchildren (see Section J, Page 2), and millions of close friends, including J.K. Rowling, Sir Andy Roddick, Oprah Winfrey, Kanye West, and the entire cast of Ocean’s Eleven (2001).

A small number of Sir Lambert's other notable accomplishments include two Super Bowl MVPs, six U.S. Open titles, two Wimbledon titles, a handful of Pulitzer Prizes, an Academy Award, a Grammy, seven Dundies, a Purple Heart, countless honorary degrees including the prestigious "Golden Ivy" presented simultaneously by all of the schools that comprise the Ivy League, three Tony Awards, and a Nobel Prize.

In honor of Sir Lambert's contributions to the modern universe, Barak Obama IV, President of the World and also the Universe, has set aside August 13th as a day of remembrance.

"The smartest thing my great, great, great grandfather ever did was listen to Sir Corey Lambert's every word during his presidency," Obama said through a steady stream of real tears. "Without Sir Lambert’s presence, we might still be in Iraq."

Sir Lambert's family requests that donations be made in his memory to Saint Michael's Elementary School in Muskegon, Michigan.

Brain Vomit

With increasing frequency over the past few months, I have found myself verbalizing my thoughts accidentally. That is not necessarily a bad thing...unless you have my brain. Below is an example of what I like to call Brain Vomit Disorder. The dialogue is from last night's dinner conversation.

Bryan: Marylyn’s uncle is such a cool guy.

Mom: Really? Marylyn, what makes him so cool?

Marylyn: He's just really fun. And he's a really smart guy, too. He gave up a full-ride scholarship to M.I.T. to become a priest.

Me: I bet he's kicking himself now.

A stunned silence blankets the table.

Me: Can someone pass the salt?

A beat.

Me: What? Oh. Ha. Can someone please pass the salt?

Big

Please, for a moment, disregard the fact that I look like a fifteen-year-old and act like a third grader. 

And forget, for the time being, that I answer Steve's questions aloud while watching "Blue's Clues" and that I sometimes whisper "Michelangelo, are you down there?" into open sewer grates.

And finally, temporarily discount my favorite food (McDonald's chicken nuggets), my favorite piece of clothing (polar bear pajama pants), and my personal mission in life (to meet and befriend Harry Potter).

With all of the aforementioned things ignored, I would like to make an announcement.

I.

Am.

An adult.

For those of you who might have missed it, ignored it, or blacked out because of it, I'll repeat myself.

I am an adult.

Yes, me.

Corey Gerard Lambert.

No, today is not my birthday.

And no, today was not my first day at a "real" job.

I am an adult because, today, I made a very important adult decision.

By myself.

I didn't consult my parents (they were at work).

I didn't ask an older sibling (my phone was dead).

And I didn't flip a coin (I didn't have any money).

I made a grownup decision ALL BY MY LONESOME.

Allow me to explain.

Today, while mulling over my current situation (I am unemployed, terribly poor, and perpetually hungry), I decided to trek to Target to exchange my DVD player for store credit.

After walking a mile and a half in the snow, arguing with a tirelessly loyal return counter cashier ("Wait, so you're returning this because the color of the remote doesn't match your LA-Z-BOY?"), and blowing $3.07 on a large cherry Icee, I had, in my hand, a card worth $28.77 in Target store merchandise.

I set out to spend my money on only the essentials, as I was pretty sure Target was quickly going to reexamine their return policy. Knowing full well that it might be a while before twenty-eight bucks graces the fake leather walls of my wallet again, I grabbed the cheapest brands of anything I could find.

Ten minutes later, with a half empty cart of only the bare necessities (deodorant, a medium bristled tooth brush, bacon bits, a 24 count box of crayons, Warheads Super Sour Blueberry candy spray, etc.), I decided it was time to check out.

On my way to the front of the store, a botched shortcut somehow landed me right smack dab in the middle of the toy department. Knowing full well that God was testing me, I made a beeline toward the checkout lanes, toward freedom.

Just as the front of my cart poked itself into the main isle, a toddler waddled in front of my cart and I jerked to a stop, sending my Icee crashing to the floor. I reached down to pick it up and that's when I saw it.

There, on the bottom shelf, was my childhood.

There, in the middle of the Target store, was my oldest best friend.

There, underneath Dora's Overnight Pup Tent and an army of Brats merchandise, was Lite-Brite.

My palms began to sweat as my eyes darted back and forth, searching for the price tag.

$9.99.

I glanced at my cart, frantically trying to decide if I really needed shampoo, if vitamins were really necessary.

Just as I reached for Him, I heard a Voice from above.

Don't do it, Corey. You need to eat.

"What?" I answered, confused.

You can't eat Lite-Brite.

"Leave me alone," I said to the Voice. "I need Him."

What you need is nourishment, fuel for your body.

I paused.

"Well then what should I do?" I asked.

You must go. Leave Lite-Brite behind.

"No!" I said. "I can’t leave Him!"

You must.

"But…"

Go!

Without thinking, I stood up, grasped the handle of my cart, and ran.

It took me almost the whole walk home to realize what had happened.

Although I didn't feel any different physically, I knew something in me had changed.

I knew that when I turned my back on Lite-Brite, I turned my back on my youth.

So now, as I sit here in my polar bear pajamas sipping chocolate milk while I wait hopefully for an owl to swoop in with my acceptance letter to Hogwarts, I can’t help but think that I finally know what Tom Hank's character felt like in the movie Big.

Yesterday, I was a kid.

Today, I'm a ma…

Oh shit, Steve's about the sing "The Mail Song."

Gotta go.

Monica

The following scenes are dedicated to my hilariously clueless cousin, the elegant and fancy-free spirit who inspired (read: lived) them.


"CONDOMS GALORE"

FADE IN:

INT. CAR – DAY

While her MOTHER talks on a cell phone, a YOUNG GIRL stares out her window as the bars and shops of a lower-class neighborhood pass by.

Above one shop a large pink neon sign flashes "CONDOMS GALORE." A variety of skimpy lingerie hangs on display in the front window.

YOUNG GIRL
Mom, do you ever wear condoms?

A beat.

YOUNG GIRL
Mom!

MOTHER
(covering her cell phone with one hand)
Honey, this is an important call. Just a few more minutes, I promise.

The young girl sighs and returns her gaze to the window.

INT. KITCHEN – LATER THAT DAY

As mother prepares dinner and talks on the phone, the young girl walks into the kitchen holding up some risqué lingerie, excited.

YOUNG GIRL
Look mom, I found your condom!

Mother turns to look.

MOTHER
(into the phone)
Can I call you back?

She hangs up the phone.

MOTHER
Honey, that isn't my condom.

YOUNG GIRL
Yes it is. I found it in your room.

MOTHER
No, I mean it isn't a condom.

YOUNG GIRL
(giggling)
Yes it is.

MOTHER
No, it isn't.

The young girl's face contorts in confusion.

YOUNG GIRL
Oh. Then what's a condom?

END SCENE

 

"FAT FREE"

FADE IN:

INT. GROCERY STORE – DAY

A YOUNG GIRL and her MOTHER wait in the checkout line behind a HEAVYSET WOMAN as a CASHIER scans and bags her groceries.

Young girl's POV: The cashier slides a bottle of FAT FREE SALAD DRESSING across the scanner and bags it.

CUT TO the CASH REGISTER displaying $3.07.

The young girl's face contorts in confusion.

YOUNG GIRL
(to heavyset woman)
Excuse me.

A beat.

YOUNG GIRL
Excuse me, ma'am.

HEAVYSET WOMAN
(turning around)
Yes, dear.

YOUNG GIRL
They charged you for that bottle of salad dressing.

The heavyset woman and the cashier exchange confused looks.

HEAVYSET WOMAN
I know, dear.

YOUNG GIRL
But it's fat free salad dressing.

HEAVY WOMAN
I understand that.

YOUNG GIRL
But you're fat.

The heavyset woman gasps and covers her mouth.

HEAVYSET WOMAN
Excuse me?

YOUNG GIRL
You're fat.

MOTHER
(embarrassed)
I’m so sorry.

HEAVYSET WOMAN
Well I should hope so. You should teach your child some manners.

MOTHER
(to her daughter)
Let's go to another line, honey.

YOUNG GIRL
But mom, the bottle says fat free right on the side. Shouldn't she get it for free? Or isn't she fat enough?

END SCENE

Telephone

To be a member of my family is to play a perpetual game of telephone.

Though completely fabricated, the following exchanges are quite likely very accurate representations of actual telephone conversations between members of my family.

Mom: "Mark and I visited Corey in Chicago last weekend. We had an okay time. We saw a play and took Corey grocery shopping because all he eats is Ramen noodles that he makes in his coffee maker because he won't get his gas turned on because he's cheap."

Grandma Lambert: "Oh, how nice."

Mom: "Also, Corey quit his job at the publishing company after one day."

Grandma Lambert: "Oh, how nice."

Mom: "He said they seemed like a sketchy company and he was worried that he would never see a paycheck."

Grandma Lambert: "Oh, how nice."

Mom: "Oh, and if we forgot to tell you a couple of years ago, Corey spent the New Year's Eve before last in Times Square in New York City and almost got to see the ball drop in person."

Grandma Lambert: "Oh, how nice."

Based on what was learned in that short dialogue, the following conversation transpired later in the week between my grandmother and my Aunt Vicki.

Grandma Lambert: "Chad quit his job."

Aunt Vicki: "What? He has a wife and two kids."

Grandma Lambert: "Corey has a wife and two kids?"

Aunt Vicki: "No. Mom, you sai…"

Grandma Lambert: "When did he get kids? He doesn't even have heat or electricity."

Aunt Vicki: "Corey doesn't have heat in Chicago in the winter?"

Grandma Lambert: "No. And all he eats are coffee noodles."

Aunt Vicki: "Mom, those aren't even a real foo…"

Grandma Lambert: "And he did some sketches for a company that they are paying him for."

Aunt Vicki: "Mo…"

Grandma Lambert: "Oh, and next Christmas Eve Corey gets to drop the ball in Times Square."

Aunt Vicki: "That's not even pos…"

Grandma Lambert: "Well, I better go finish my sewing."

Aunt Vicki: "Mom, wai..."

Grandma Lambert: "Bye Debbie."

Aunt Vicki: "Mom, it's Vick..."

Click.

Having read the previous two conversations, you can probably guess where my father gets it from.

Me: "Hey Dad. My interview went well today."

Dad: "Oh, how nice."

Me: "Yah. It was for a sales and marketing position with a wholesale flower company."

Dad: "Oh, how nice."

Later that day…

Kelly: "I haven't talked to Corey yet today. He said he had an interview but I'm not sure what it was for."

Dad: "Oh, I just talked to him. He wants to drive a flower delivery truck."

Celebrity

"I don't mean to interrupt," she said, tapping my father on the shoulder. "But you look just like Harrison Ford. Has anyone ever told you that before?"

My father had, in fact, been told that on more than one occasion.

It may seem silly that I keep a ready account of such an unimportant memory, but it remains in the lockbox of my mind for one reason.

I have no celebrity counterpart.

My father struts around town in his Indiana Skywalker skin and I, his beloved son, possess no celebrity match.

In an attempt to silence my whining, a friend once uploaded a photo of me onto a website that automatically matches you with your celebrity look-a-like.

To gauge the complexity of said website, my buddy's photo (below) garnered matches that included Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson and Benji.

"I'm Sorry, Your Photo Yielded No Results," was the only match my photo garnered.

Not once has a stranger taken it upon herself to say to me, "Sir, in this light you very closely resemble a young Brad Pitt."

Or, "Wow Mister, you should move to Hollywood immediately and fill the void left by the death of George Clooney's face double."

Not once.

Never.

Well, until this weekend, that is.

While playing beer pong on Saturday January 27, 2007 at 9:14 pm CST, an opponent paused in the middle of her windup, looked me in the face, and said, "I got it! I know who you look like!"

"WHO?!?" I replied calmly.

"Have you ever seen Fantastic Four?" she asked.

"Yes," I said sorely, anticipating her answer to be The Thing (pictured below).

"You look just like that fire dude."

"The Human Torch?" I asked meekly.

"Yah! That's his name. The Human Torch," she answered, tossing the ball and missing the nearest cup by an arm's length.

"Oh, well, yah. I mean, uhm, the Human Torch. Yeah. People tell me that all the time."