Whether it is the juxtaposing of the seriousness of the event against a comedic situation, or our natural anxiety about being at a funeral that places us on the verge of chaos, funerals are perfectly placed to bring out the worst in us, writes Howard Feldman
I recall with such fondness a funeral that I attended some years ago when the Rabbi who was officiating at the grave site, lost his trousers when his suspenders that were holding them up, and that had been under increasing strain, finally gave up the ghost.
The Rabbi, since passed, who was a man of great character and robust confidence, hardly missed a beat.
On noticing that his pants were around his ankles and not around his waist, swooped down gathered them up unto himself without any disturbance to his meaningful eulogy.
Another funeral had me at odds with my brother-in-law.
In retrospect it was fairly comical, but I was only able to appreciate the full magnificence of the situation after the event.
It was a particularly windy and rainy day when we stood at the graveside to bury the deceased.
Whilst we intoned the prayer, looking appropriately sombre, a gust of wind and rain swept across Westpark, lifting not only umbrellas but also the hat that my brother-in-law was wearing.
The accessory flew up into the air before being deposited in an empty grave that lay waiting for its tenant. It needs to be said that it was not a particularly stylish piece (read; ugly) which meant that in my view it was now seeing a perfectly fitting end.
Or it should have. But my family member instead chose to ask one of my children (who was attending his first funeral) just to pop into the hole and to retrieve it.
The look of horror on the child’s face was enough, but not needed for me to ask the bloke if he was clinically insane?
If he wanted his hideous hat, I explained between clenched teeth, then he was more than welcome to travel the 6ft towards the centre of the earth in the pouring rain.
If not, then it would be best that he made peace with his loss.
Whether it is the juxtaposing of the seriousness of the event against a comedic situation, or our natural anxiety about being at a funeral that places us on the verge of chaos, funerals are perfectly placed to bring out the worst in us.
Which is possibly why the actions of the SA Police at the funeral of Dr. Richard Maponya seems to have captured the country’s imagination.
The now viral video of the senior members of the force marching in different directions, before stopping, negotiating and then still not getting it right is brilliant in its horror.