The Matthew Dicks Pre-Obituary Contest (including fabulous prizes for the winner)

Slate recently named the obituary of Harry Weathersby Stamps as their current leader for obituary of the year. Excerpts from this incredible obituary (though you really should read the obituary in its entirety) include:

Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies' man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

As a former government and sociology professor for Gulf Coast Community College, Harry was thoroughly interested in politics and religion and enjoyed watching politicians act like preachers and preachers act like politicians. He was fond of saying a phrase he coined 'I am not running for political office or trying to get married' when he was 'speaking the truth.' He also took pride in his service during the Korean conflict, serving the rank of corporal—just like Napolean, as he would say.

He despised phonies, his 1969 Volvo (which he also loved), know-it-all Yankees, Southerners who used the words 'veranda' and 'porte cochere' to put on airs, eating grape leaves, Law and Order (all franchises), cats, and Martha Stewart. In reverse order. He particularly hated Day Light Saving Time, which he referred to as The Devil's Time. It is not lost on his family that he died the very day that he would have had to spring his clock forward. This can only be viewed as his final protest.

While I have no intention of ever dying, I was also a Boy Scout for many years and believe in being prepared. After reading Stamps obituary, I decided that part of being prepared for the unlikelihood of death should be to have an obituary as unique and entertaining as his already written in the event of my improbable demise.

The idea of writing an obituary before the subject is deceased is nothing new. Newspapers often have obituaries prepared ahead of time, so why not have your own obituary ready as well? I’ve always felt bad for the dead person who never has the opportunity to hear the accolades expressed after his or her untimely death.

The same goes for the obituary. Harry Weathersby Stamps never had the opportunity to read this remarkable obituary before his death.

What a damn shame.

This is what makes Tom Sawyer one of my heroes. The boy faked his own death and attended his own funeral. Brilliant!

But writing my own obituary seems slightly uncouth. Self congratulatory. Possibly narcissistic.

At the very least, biased. 

So what I’m proposing, dear reader, is that you take a stab at writing my obituary for me. I’m not looking for a standard obit but something that is unique, entertaining, memorable and possibly amusing.

A Harry Weathersby Stamps kind of obituary.

I’d like it to capture the essence of who I am (or who you think I am) while also remaining truthful and sincere.

Of course, there will be a prize for the obituary that I like the best. While I’m not in the position to offer any sizeable cash reward, I’ve attempted to assemble a prize package that will make this endeavor worth your time.

It includes:

  • Signed copies of all three of my books plus a signed galley of my next book when it is available.
  • Your name or a name of your choice (within reason) to be used in my next book as the name of a minor character.
  • Publication of your obituary on this blog and possibly in a newspaper someday in the unlikely event that I die.

I’m also willing to negotiate this prize package, so if you have a suggestion for something else that I should offer, let me know.

Also, if you are in need of any biographical data for the completion of the obituary, just ask. The obituary will be judged on originality, entertainment value and its ability to capture the essence of who I am, but accuracy is important, too. That said, names and dates can always be added in later if necessary. I’m not as worried about you getting my birthday correct as I am about your ability to make this obituary one that people will enjoy and remember for a long time. 

Good luck!