Why You Should Approve Your Obituary Before It Goes to Press

Who was Chan Holcombe, and how was he circumcised? Holcombe's pithy obituary doesn't provide a full answer to the first question, for how could it? Holcombe, who died in Fort Smith, Arkansas last week at age 72, surely lived a full and rich life. He'd served with the Air Force and eventually started his own business. He "caught a lot of crappie" during fishing trips on which he surely contemplated the universe and his place in it—each time coming to a slightly different conclusion, as proof of his evolution as a man. And he raised a family, which surely inspired countless reflections and emotional responses both fleeting and fundamentally life-changing. All that life experience can't be conveyed in just a few hundred words.

The details of Holcombe's circumcision, on the other hand, are much easier to summarize. Holcombe was "circumcised with his Dad's pocketknife," his obit informs us. For some reason! What could be the reason, for the inclusion of this detail, in the newspaper? Maybe the circumstances surrounding Holcombe's circumcision have always been a source of speculation in Fort Smith, and this is his survivors' way of setting the record straight. Or maybe his circumcision was memorable enough to become part of Arkansas lore or a fable. It's just so weird otherwise, to include this detail.

Would you want your own obituary to include such detailed information? Are you now going to worry about what your dumb relatives will publicize about you when you pop off? Will you now take proactive steps to ensure that your obituary writer avoids mentioning your circumcision? Feel free to express yourselves in the comments.

[Dignity Memorial, Buzzfeed. Image via Shutterstock]