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Scattering Ashes at the Mall

Humour often masks our true fears


It would not be Britain if we could find no humour unlaughable and this is never more the case in the funeral world. I visited the National Funeral Exhibition this year for the first time and was, one level, surprised to see an exhibition stand that specialised in funeral humour and it was doing brisk business. The people buying and selling were not doing so in mockery of their profession, it just seemed sort of right in a way, if you deal with death and its impacts all day everyday – you do need an outlet, coupled with the fact that humour and death are so closely linked – plus British and Irish psyches have a humour as cornerstone of makes us … us I suppose.

So, when I came across my first scattering ashes joke the other day I was amazed, mainly for the reason I had not come across one before.

A lady tells a friend: “When I die, I want my remains cremated and my ashes scattered at the mall.”

Puzzled, the friend asks: “Isn’t that weird? Why did you say that?” The lady replies: “So my children will always visit me.”

I don’t proclaim to be any expert on discourse, but part of the humour lies in a fear of legacy. Who will remember us when we have gone? I suppose the other aspect neatly makes the point we seem to care more about ‘stuff’ than we do of others. Funny how humour can hide our anxieties.

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