I wrote my last Dad Joke this week.
No, I am not jumping on the Dad Joke wagon, and I have not given up Dad Jokes for Lent a few days early. I have not tired of Dad Jokes nor do I think that there is an over-abundance of them contributing to global warming and that I need to reduce my Dad Joke footprint.
No, I simply wrote my last Dad Joke today.
Or, more accurately, I wrote the last Dad Joke that will be attributed to me.
On a brand-new baseball.
For now tucked away in a box with five other brand new, autographed-by-me baseballs.
One of my kids (or grandkids, great grandkids, great-great grandkids, or some combination thereof) will read said joke, off of said baseball, at my memorial service – some (very hopefully) forty, fifty years or more down the road from today.
Because that is the way it is laid out in my dead file; the red file folder with all of the details I want taken care of at my passing. Quotations to use in the program, songs to be played, that sort of thing. Along with the instructions for distributing the baseballs.
The ones I autographed, including the two with my final Dad Joke. The half-dozen autographed baseballs (total) with my ashes inside. My family, long aware of this plan, has grudgingly said agreed that they will do their best to adhere to my wishes – though occasional requests for someone to take the lead on this little project of mine has yet to result in any enthusiastic volunteers.
The obvious answer is, of course, that I am a huge baseball fan. Those that know me all know this, and my baseball-cum-urns will serve a two-fold purpose: not only can they displayed like any regular piece of sports memorabilia, but they will still be usable baseballs. Years after I am gone, when my grandkids, great-grandkids, and great-great-grandkids get together someone will always be able to say, “Hey! Let’s go outside and play catch with grandpa!”
And they will still be able to.
I actually purchased the baseballs about two years ago, along with the hole-saw attachment so whoever handles such things at the funeral place can drill out a hole in each ball, insert the ashes, then put the previously drilled out plug back in with some sort of sealant. (The hole-saw is secured in the box with the autographed balls.) But until recently, I just had not gotten around to getting the autographing done, and packing away the baseballs all nice and neat for storage – in part, because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to write on the balls, and because I have been busy and just hadn’t gotten around to it.
We relocated back to my hometown of Minneapolis last fall, and this winter, while trying to organize my basement office space, I had the package of balls and decided now was as good a time as any to get them prepped, so I could hand them off to one of my sons for safekeeping.
I had them sitting out next to my desk for a few days, and while I had narrowed down my phraseology to a select few ideas, I wasn’t totally sold on whether I should say the same thing on each one, or if I should go in a more creative direction. Then, as these things tend to do, inspiration came from out of the blue.
I was on my laptop, reading about my hometown Minnesota Twins going through spring training down in Florida. There was a humorous sidebar story about a Twins broadcaster, and then, bingo…there it was! It just popped into my head; the needed line for two of the six baseballs. The perfect punchline; short, sweet, on point…definitely me.
I finally had it: my last Dad Joke.
I thought about it for a bit, just to make sure it was THE line. I ran it through my head, then out loud, using different inflections, sticking the emphasis in different places. Yep, I realized I had nailed it.
Later that evening, I signed the baseballs, adding the LDJ (Last dad Joke) to two of them, then gently secured them back in their tissue paper wrappers, putting each one back in its box, then placed all six baseballs and the hole saw in a larger box, slapping a big sign on the front, and sealed it all securely with packing tape.
Bringing the box upstairs, I informed my wife and two sons that the baseballs I had long mentioned were ready to be placed in the safekeeping of one of them. All three of them looked at me warily, my wife reiterating her long-held position on the topic; “Don’t look at me.”
Fortunately, my twenty-year-old son Sam acquiesced. “Why not? I’ll just put it in my closet and leave it there when I move out.” His succinct, immediate repsonse seemed to edge toward surrender more than cheerful agreement, but I think when the time comes he will probably take it with him. We’ll see.
It is a nice feeling to finally have that little project done. Something else I can check off my bucket (of popcorn) list.
Yeah, that one just came to me as I was typing this.
So, I wrote my last Dad Joke today.
To paraphrase the great comedian and baseball fan Rip Taylor, “They’ll LAAAauugh!”
#baseball #dadsashesinabaseball #deadfile #baseballliferanddeather