The Dead Are Calling

I’ve been thinking about the dead again, and not in that “no bones in the garbage disposal” kind if way, but the “I’ll probably like a side job when I sell these books to keep me off the streets “kind of way.

The day job I have now isn’t how I envisioned working the rest of my life, and after one of the big Pubs begs me to spend the next four books with them, it isn’t a job I can do part-time. What I do and where I do it can’t be freelanced or part-timed. However, as much as I complain about the 9-5 grind, I simply do not function well without it.

I crave structure and discipline and I need someplace to go that isn’t another room in the apartment. The tasks I plan on conquering while on staycations almost never get done. I have no place to be, no where to go, and getting dressed is over-rated. I sit on the couch, watch movies and crochet mini-TARDIS’.

“But, MontiLee,” you’ll say while bowing and scraping, never daring to meet my eyes, “staycations are meant for accomplishing nothing.” Here is where you’ll throw up your hands in a defensive posture to fend off the blows. I can consider this, however you’ll be wrong and sent to the Drowning Pool. Staycations are meant for relaxing, but as for accomplishing absolutely nothing, to me they feel wasted. I honestly did more writing working part-time, than I do with extended time off, and this is a problem because right now, I get about 2 months off work a year. That‘s two months of not writing, not accomplishing anything, and feeling lazy. Landing a book deal would compound that because while I would have deadlines (and I do love deadlines) the hours in my day not spent writing would bleed into the hours I should be writing (writers can rationalize procrastination with the best of them) and then I’d be standing at the lip of the Drowning Pool.

So I’m investigating my options. I’ve been thinking about all of the things I’ve wanted to be when I grow up, and how I’d like to punch a clock if I really didn’t have to. After watching a Frontline episode the other night called The Undertaking, I’ve decided I now know what that is. I’d like to be the thing my dad would have been had he not become a cop.

I want to be a Dentist.

Wait … That was Hermie.

I want to be a Mortician.

Seriously.

Except there’s a hitch: I’d have to go back to school and study.

I walked away from college 20 years ago, and as many times as I told people I’d go back eventually, I was lying. I hated school. I tolerated it in high school because it where my friends were, but when college rolled around and there were classes and papers and presentations, I decided that school wasn’t for me. The time spent just getting to the point where one was actually entrenched in the reason one was there to begin with to me seemed too long, and far too pointless. Today, I hear my friends who have gone back and their class schedule and papers and exams and an online system called Blackboard that takes every opportunity to crap its brains out at the most inopportune times, and I think, no thanks, brother.

But if I want to do this dream like I really think I want to do – and what small town couldn’t use a licensed mortician wherever I set up shop in a few years – I’ll have to bite the bullet, enroll and attend class. I’d do the work, and gripe with the rest and hope on the other side, I’d have the degree my parents always wanted me to have.

*big brave smile*

*fail*

Ugh.

When I started college (hello, WayBack Machine, 1990), I defaulted to English/Teaching because it’s what my parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles did, and still do to this day. I come from a family of public servants, made up of teachers and cops; I’m very proud of this fact. However as excited as I was when I began the teaching program and looked forward to all of the classes and shadowing and student teaching, I still walked away in 1992 and never went back. I know there’s a reason for that running deeper than not liking class.

In fact, I know this feeling is different from wanting to be a Teacher because I could never hate the dead as much as I hate really dislike undisciplined kids. I think that’s an important psychological tell and a definite mark in the Pro Column, but it’s not enough to help me get over the initial hump of – bleech – school. But I think it could be.

I want to find a vocational training program, something I can intern with for a few years and work my way up. I don’t want to run a funeral home (MATHS!) but I could be talked into it in time, but really I just want the quiet, challenging serenity of helping someone’s loved one look their best for their final goodbye, which would satisfy my industrious side while still able to write, satisfying my creative side.

No, really. How can this not be perfect?

So that’s the current think in my head. How can I do this at an Associates Level (only OH and MO require a Bachelors degree for a license) AND get my foot in the door of an increasingly cliquish business? If this is a “who you know” business, I need to get to know people, and when you’re looking at going into a career that involves dead bodies, it’s so very hard to get past the stink-eye look.

So, local funeral owners in the Metro Detroit Area, I would like to discuss a business opportunity with you, involving me, my time, and my charm. I’m a way off from 20, but as my schooling shouldn’t involve frat parties, sleeping with the professors or running off with the exchange students, I think you’ll find me a worthy intern who’s willing to learn without the neck tattoos or MCR playing in the headphones.

Let me deal with the books and the schooling, you just get me in the door. This little girl wants to work with the dead when she grows up, and who are you to tell a little girl no?

Studious and attentive, I am here for all of your interning mortuary needs.