● On the plane trip home, scrutinize the other passengers, attempting to determine who among them still has a living father. Strike up a conversation with those you feel are also fatherless, and thus share a kinship with you. All others should be scowled at, and made well aware of your utter contempt and resentment for their good fortune.
● When people you’ve never met before approach you to offer their condolences, pretend that you have no idea what they’re talking about. Say something like, “What do you mean? I just talked to him last week. Did something happen?”
● Divide up your father’s material possessions among your siblings, clinging desperately to the minutiae of his life. Collect pens, stationary, watches that no longer work, dead double-a batteries, anything you can grab. After a vicious tug-of-war, win possession of all of his old clothes, particularly those items that contain trace elements of sweat. Keep these clothes in a safe place, waiting for cloning technology to advance to a stage where his DNA might prove useful.
● Take your age and subtract it from your father’s age at the time of his death. Use this number to determine exactly how much time you have left. Become despondent and panicky over this information. Construct a chart of your remaining years, using it to prove that there is not nearly enough time left for you to get married, raise a family, or do any of the other things you hoped to achieve in your life.
● Regardless of whether or not you’re Jewish, host a Shiva for your dad’s friends and family. Assume that your father is judging you from beyond the grave, and get into a loud, heated argument with his spirit. Yell at him for continuing to be unfairly disappointed with your career and relationship choices.
● Composing an original obituary may prove to be too painful. To save time and mental anguish, plagiarize from the obituaries of other, more famous people. Credit him with accomplishments that are not his own, such as his supposed Pulitzer Prize, thus giving more meaning to his tragically short life.
● Show up late for the wake, and then refuse to go inside. Instead, stand out in the parking lot, dressed in a trenchcoat, while holding a boom box over your head (a la John Cusack in Say Anything) blaring Green Day’s “Time Of Your Life.”
● Upon receiving the autopsy report, examine the document thoroughly for errors, suspicious that his condition may have been misdiagnosed. When you fail to uncover enough evidence, concoct a new theory that your father has somehow faked his own death (much like Elvis) and has moved to another town with his mistress. Have vivid daydreams of a day in the near future when you spot him in an airport, and upon confronting him, chasing him through the streets of New Orleans, only to lose him in a crowded Mardi Grais parade.
● Call ex-girlfriends at random, weeping into the phone and seeking comfort from a person you have not seen or heard from in years. If possible, make arrangements to meet with them for “sympathy sex.”
● When searching through your father’s belongings, locate a box filled with hundreds of unused business cards. If you’re lucky, these cards will also include a picture of your departed father. Over the next year, when you’re introduced to new people (particularly people who’ve never met your dad), hand them your father’s card. When they appear to be confused, tell them, “That’s my dead dad,” offering no further explanation.
● As a group project among family members, determine what your father’s last words may have been. Assign great meaning to these words, persuading yourself and others that he was actually well aware of his impending death, and was attempting to impart some wisdom on the meaning of life and the secrets of the afterlife.
● Refuse to take the funeral seriously. When confronted about your levity, inform your accusers that your father has actually been sent to a farm, where he’s able to run freely across vast pastures with all of your childhood pets.
● Discuss with your siblings your disappointment that your children (as yet unborn) will never have an opportunity to know their grandfather. Devise a plan to build a life-size mannequin, which will be outfitted in your father’s old clothes. When you actually get around to having children, force them to interact with the mannequin and treat it like a living person. Say things like, “Have you told grandpa that you love him today?” Ignore their comments that this activity is “creepy.”
● When the funeral is over and you return to your former life, never forget to nurture that chip on your shoulder. Bring up your loss at every opportunity, even changing the topic of conversation abruptly when necessary. You can win any argument by simply mentioning, “Well, my dad’s dead, so what do I know?”