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Blaming The Dead

September 9, 2013

We give the dead a lot of credit. Sometimes more credit than they deserve. We act as though, even dead, they are present and passing judgement on our every move and utterance.

We are forever putting words in their mouths.

“If your grandmother was alive she would say…”

“Dear Aunt Betsy must be rolling in her grave knowing what you’ve done.”

“I’m sure your dearly departed father is looking down with admiration.”

Just the other day my girlfriend Carol and I were discussing how our dead friend Stella would be taking credit for the fact that I’ve recently signed up to train for an Ironman. Stella was a world record holding athlete whose inability to stand still when an exercise option was available is legendary amongst those who knew her.

“I’m a little speechless. Did this start when Stella died… did you drink the juice?”

“Carol, we both know that bitch would take full credit for this.”

“True… cuz she wouldn’t DO this!!” 

Fact is, I’m pretty sure Stella doesn’t give a shit. She’s dead. She’s moved on to bigger and better things than caring about what I’m up to. Yet, we still put the win in her column on the big scoreboard.

Personally, I prefer to lay the blame for shit on the dead. Seriously. Why not? They aren’t here to defend themselves, but that also means that they aren’t here to deny or refute the allegations. I like to blame my dead sister, Parrish, for a lot of things. If she hadn’t up and died my life would be infinitely easier. I mean sure, it wasn’t her fault she got brain cancer. Undoubtedly no one asks for that. But, damnit, she left a huge mess behind when she died. Orphaned children, a depressed mother, and a huge gap that nothing can fill.  However it’s not just the big things for which I like to blame her. That would be too easy. I like to blame her for all the little shit too. When I can’t remember someone who wants to friend me on Facebook, I blame her.


It’s just like when we were kids. As the eldest child I was obligated to blame her for trying to usurp my throne by being born.  Do you have any idea how awesome an only child I would have made? If there was something to get blamed for, I would pass the blame to her. It’s the rule of self-preservation, blame the other kid. Half the time she really deserved it, although my mother rarely believed me. Parrish was really good at looking wholly innocent when she was guilty as sin. She was an excellent liar. If she were still alive, she’d look at you – all bewildered – and ask you if you had any idea what I was talking about.

Recently I’ve come up with a new thing to blame on her. It’s really kind of genius on my part. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve signed up to do an Ironman next summer. Like all my other athletic endeavors it’s in aid of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and done in memory of my sister, my grandparents, and my two favorite uncles. I’m looking at a grueling year of training. It will mean hours in the bike saddle, miles on my feet, and swimming with Great White Sharks off the coast of California. Every one of those hours, miles, and moments spent as chum will be an opportunity for me to once again blame Parrish and take her name in vain. At night, while sitting on the couch icing my sore muscles, I will mutter “If you hadn’t fuckin’ died of cancer, I wouldn’t be compelled to do this. THIS is your fault!” She won’t be there to defend or deny my accusations, but you can damn sure, when I cross the finish line, she’s going to try and take credit for it. She and Stella both. They can fight it out.

If you’d like to follow my travails as I train for the Ironman, cast a little blame my sister’s way, or would like to make a donation to honor the memory/honor of someone you’ve lost to cancer, visit

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