Happy Corpses

Recently, I had an open position in the Accounting Department and had difficulty filling it with a qualified candidate. It was the pandemic, everyone wanted to work at home. This job required you to be in the office. As a result, the job advertisements did not attract many candidates, especially the young ones, my target audience. They all wanted to be “influencers,” communicate on their cell phones, and never appear behind a desk.

So, I had to lower my standards. I usually looked for applicants who had an accounting background and my job ads stated “prior hotel experience a plus.” My new ads said, “willing to train.” That is how I ended up with Bob whose last job was as a mortician.

Bob did look like a bob. He was lanky with a mop of red hair and I could picture him bobbing behind the file cabinets. When we sat down for the interview, I told him I had never met an undertaker before and was bemused. “I get that all the time,” he said. “After all, you only die once, so it’s not like I am someone you need in a hurry.”

I inquired about his work and he pulled out a brochure and showed me the various packages available. There were the “Happy Endings” and “Happy Ever After” followed by “Happy Trails.” Everything was Happy. I started to become suspicious of Bob. I feared he was a salesman who sneaked into my schedule to sell me a final resting place.

The prior day, a clever photocopier salesman, whom I had been avoiding had applied for the job and I was forced to interview him. Instead of talking about debits and credits, the discussion was on copies per minute and paper jams. So, naturally, I hesitated when Bob showed me pictures of the recently deceased.

I never realized that there is a whole industry centered on the dearly departed. They even have their own make-up line. But Bob being a creative type had taken it a few steps further. He saw that many corpses looked forlorn, the older ones had sunken cheeks due to missing denticulation. Bob had helped brighten up the viewings by inserting a complete set of dentures. He parted their lips a bit, and it appeared they were smiling. He opened one eye and popped in a fake eyeball and pinched the other one shut. The effect was a wink by the dead person. And instead of the hands resting limply one on top of the other, he had pushed the thumbs upwards.

“Did this get you fired?’ I inquired.

“No,” he said. One day, they had back-to-back funerals. Mr. O’Malley and Mrs. Chong. The O’Malley’s had to wait for the Chong funeral to finish. It was a closed casket and Mrs. Chong was cremated. The Irish had brought along their fiddles, pipes, and harps together with their whiskey as it was a tradition to send off your loved one with a bawdy song and a wee tipple. 

When it was their time to view the body, the priest opened the casket and asked the congregation to pay their last respects. The O’Malley’s were surprised to see Constance Cong smiling, winking at them, and giving them two thumbs up.

“What happened next?” I asked.

“I dunno,” replied Bob. “I was not there to find out.”

Well, at least the guy was honest. That’s a good trait to have. And like us accountants, morticians share some similar qualities. Melancholy. So, we hired Bob.

That was a fatal error. He brought his enhancement skills to the financials. All the red numbers turned black. The bosses loved Bob. They promoted the guy. Now, I am the one looking for a job.

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