Whether you want it or not, there will more than likely be some sort of ceremony to mark your passing, and you hope it will be a celebration of your life, not your death. Either way, let’s say that before you kicked the bucket you’ve specified the manner in which you’d like to be disposed, and that’s been carried out. (I, for instance, plan to be buried in my ’73 VW Beetle in my backyard beside all my beloved cats and dogs.) Have you given directions for your wake—how you would like to be celebrated? Most importantly, have you made a playlist? If you haven’t attended to this detail, it’s possible that your send-off could be to the crappy strains of “Sugar, Sugar,” “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” or “We Built This City.” The horror!
Bury or cremate—whatever’s cheapest. Make absolutely sure I’m really dead before you do anything. If you bury me (don’t send me to Richmond) pls get Don D to build me a plain pine box, or bury me in the trunk Liddie gave us that we use for the coffee table, unless someone wants it.
On a kitchen wall in Oxford, Mississippi, there is a growth chart—a skinny ladder of pencil marks and names recording the heights of dozens of random family and friends. The highest notch, off the wood molding and onto the plaster, is marked “Dave Bastard” for Dave Colvin, the giant drummer for The Heartless Bastards. The lowest notch, at 3'10", reads, “Higgins 1/7/06.” James Tolliver Higgins made that mark himself. Not even average height on his feet, this is how short he was in his wheelchair, and how darkly funny he could be. He died May 24, 2009, leaving behind piles of photographs, letters, and friends who saw him as a kind of folk hero.
From The OA's Mississippi Music Issue, 2011: "This brings me to some remarks that must be made about the exterior of Tyler Keith's head: it is the hardest, most indestructible one ever. Someone at NASA, or NASCAR, needs to analyze it."