Actor Leslie Nielson’s tombstone is a park bench which engraved with his trademark quote:
Sit down whenever you can.
In 2002 interview regarding his film “Men with Brooms” (which centered on curling), Neilson mentioned that he studied the women’s curing teams at the Olympics and noticed how the “kept the rock in closer to them, and [sat] down more on their legs.”
He declared then that if he ever gets into another curling movie he’ll sit down, and that’s his advice to actors “Always sit down. Whenever you can.” Whether by that he meant “take time to relax whenever you can” or “focus intently on the task” or “don’t work harder than you have to,” we can never be sure.
But it got me thinking about what I might use for a tombstone instead of the traditional marker. Though Plan A is to never die and Plan B (if someone ruins Plan A by dropping a safe on my head or something similar) is to have my ashes spread at Yawgoog Scout Reservation, I’ve told my wife that I am not opposed to having a marker where my future generations can visit me.
But why choose an ordinary gravestone when there are so many other options?
I’ll continue to consider this decision carefully, but at the moment, I’m leaning toward memorializing myself in a shot put pit. My idea to capture some of the competitiveness that filled my life while also mitigating the tedium often associated with visiting a cemetery.
A shot put pit seems ideal. A large shot put stone (perhaps larger than an official stone) would serve as my official marker, but it would be placed within a well manicured shot put circle. A more traditional stone marker would be placed just outside the circle, and this would be be engraved with some of the more pertinent rules of the sport and encourage visitors to toss the shot put as often as they would like. This might even encourage visitors to stay longer and visit repeatedly.
I love the idea of visitors tossing my marker around in an effort to determine who is strongest amongst their group.
In truth, I would prefer that my marker be related to golf, basketball or even poker, but so far I have yet to come up with a viable option in relation to any of these sports or games. The shot put is large, heavy, can be made from stone, and can be engraved with my name and other necessary biographical information, making it ideal for this purpose.
So this is my current Plan C. I expect it to change as better ideas emerge, but it’s always good to have a Plan C in the event someone decides to drop a safe on my head tomorrow.
Not everyone finds me adorable.