We are very, very, very sorry for your loss. It's a tremendous thing, a deep and despicable and tragic and inexplicable thing. We are so very, very sorry that the most we can do is kind of stand here shrugging in a noncommittal way, resisting the temptation to say something sarcastic, such weaknesses, because in this day and age it's entirely possible that we humans have lost the capability of truly emoting w/o resorting to irony, and frankly even our sadness and corollary condolence feels somehow forced, fake, mediated. We are standing here shrugging and saying the common things about letting it out and shoulders to cry on and ashes to ashes and dust to better places, etceteras, all the while trying not to make it too obvious that our eyes are wandering to the minibar at the back of the room, where the Jameson's is, because this is an Irish-type thing after all. We are trying not to smirk while remembering how the priest, who'd obviously never met your loss, or the man that was before he was a Loss, this priest who was obviously clueless and had been handed cribbed notes prior to the service, how this guy with his stupid cassock and his pedophile creepy pudgy hands talked about how He had been such a terrific fan of professional wrestling, and racing cars, which all seems like so much shorthand for the kind of person who sat in the garage drinking Pabst with one hand down the front of his pants. Which he was, of course, and which we'd make ample mention of, were we not obligated to pretend like he was a great person whose absence will be felt by all, and so on. We're not allowed, of course, to remind you of the myriad ways in which your own life will probably improve now that your greatest obstacle to success and happiness is finally cold, out, a goner, pale as a sheet, ready to be lowered into the frigid ground and sealed up like a trout filet in deep freeze. Because the priest, who right now is probably touching himself beneath his vestal robes or else huffing glue in the back of the rectory, that's the kind of pasty Pollack he looked like at any rate, the priest wouldn't have known about the times Your Loss decided to slap you across the face with a piece of prime rib barely dethawed, a weapon both odd and demeaning and hurtful as hell, leaving a bruise that lasted two weeks, and how exactly do you go about telling someone that He abused you with a piece of half-frozen meat? The circus will have to leave town now that the ringmaster's dead, that's what we really want to say, but instead here we are hugging you tight, all of us dressed in black and uncomfortable and a few people already outside the hall, smoking cigarettes, lucky enough to have passed the gauntlet first, rubbing their hands against the cold and warming themselves with long draughts of the Jameson's whiskey that is so tantalizingly close, now, as we exchange body heats and you go about the long and slow and necessary process of rewriting the past, minute by minute, word by word. .

About the author:

Scott Indrisek works for BlackBook magazine. He's finishing a short story collection entitled Please Gentrify This Body while dreaming of Canadian emigration.