Edgar Allan Poe Strikes Again . . .

bernieLast evening, I re-watched the 2011 Jack Black film, Bernie (If Bernie isn’t a classic movie, it ought to be, because Jack Black’s performance is a tour de force!)  For those of you who haven’t seen this little gem, suffice it to say it is based upon the true story of one Bernie Tiede, a Texas mortician accused of murdering an 81-year-old woman named Marjorie Nugent. If you liked Fargo, you’ll love Bernie.

poeBut what does the film have to do with Edgar Allan Poe? you might ask.  And I answer: Everything!  It made me think of the Virginia-born writer, and that made me . . . well, it’s all connected—somehow.

Somewhere back in junior high school, I was introduced to the writing of the acknowledged master of the horror genre, Edgar Allan Poe, and a particularly disturbing short story of his called The Premature Burial.  The story so upset me that I vowed that, upon my demise, I would never be buried (at least if I had anything to say about it).

Fast forward some 50 years later to a bedtime conversation I had with my wife, Becky, about my desire to have my cremated remains scattered upon the waters of my favorite trout stream, the Beaverkill, in New York’s Catskill Mountains.  The conversation went something like this:

Becky “About your wishes to have your ashes scattered at Junction Pool . . . “

(Doesn’t everyone have similar stimulating conversation at bedtime?  No?  Surely you do.)

Joe  “Yeah.  What about it?”

(I was truly curious.)

Becky  “Well, I just don’t know if I’m comfortable with the idea of my not having your remains with me . . . you know . . . after you’re . . . well . . . gone.

(Hmmmm, I’d never given the subject much thought.)

Joe  “Well, why don’t you just scatter half on the water, and keep the other half at home?”

(Seemed only reasonable, wouldn’t you agree?)

Becky  “Oh, no!  Then you wouldn’t be . . . well . . . you know . . . all together.”

(Really?  Hadn’t thought of that either.  Apparently, the dead cannot lie peacefully unless every atom is perfectly intact.)

Joe  “Oh heck, who knows if they’ll even give you my ashes in the first place.  They’ll probably just give you some ashes from a cat . . . or a dog.”

At that point, Becky hit me with a pillow, and things got kind of ugly, but you get the picture.

It all comes back to Edgar Allan Poe—well, sort of.  You see, if I hadn’t read The Premature Burial, I would never have decided to be cremated, and we would never have had that conversation in the first place.  It’s all his fault.  Am I wrong?  Am I wrong?  Anyway, read the short story, and definitely see the movie—Bernie, not The Premature Burial (which was a hideous film starring Ray Miland).

Happy 4th of July America!  flag

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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of five books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, Broken Promises and Deadly Ransom. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at: http://www.joeperronejr.com.
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9 Responses to Edgar Allan Poe Strikes Again . . .

  1. Chas Spain says:

    Thanks for the suggestion Joe on Bernie – love Jack Black but this one had passed me by (as has most of my life so far). Hope you resolve the question of best dealing with your deposed self – it’s a quandary to be sure. Have a great 4th of July.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been aware for some time now that I am definitely going to die . . . someday! It is the manner in which we live our lives that matters most, and I am bound and determined not to live in constant fear of the unknown. Life is beautiful, and we can only hope that death will be even more so. Hugs to you, my friend. Your next visit to Asheville cannot come soon enough. Best to JP! 🙂


  3. balroop2013 says:

    Ha ha! Tell Becky its no use keeping the ashes, the sooner she scatters them the better it would be for her own peace. We who cremate believe that ashes have to be disposed off within a few days to let the soul rest in peace and I would wish that for you!
    On a serious note Joe, I would like to salute you for having fun over such a matter! I have never discussed such an issue and would never have the heart to do so.

    I avoid watching scary shows and don’t like reading such fiction too. I often drop the book unfinished if I come across dreary language or scenes. Don’t think I am chicken hearted…I can face the worst of crisis calmly but I don’t want to tax my nerves with imaginary fights and ghost-like figures.
    Wishing you and Becky a happy and healthy togetherness for many many years. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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