I recently embarked upon the literary journey that is Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. So far it's a delight and far more enjoyable than his previous tome, American Gods.
So these two brothers, Charles and Spider have just met shortly after their father's funeral. And Spider suggests they need to "properly" mourn their father and the best way to mourn is by fulfilling three basic needs-- Wine, Women, and Song.
All Aboard, my train of thought is about to depart...
So, this got me to thinking-- we still clamor for those 3 basic vices; perception altering substances, physical intimacy/companionship, and music (doesn't have quite as catchy a ring to it when I put it that way, does it?) . And when we're in mourning our "need" for those 3 vices does seem to increase substantially.
A wake is essentially just an excuse to drown ones sorrows at the loss of a loved one and/or celebrate that person's life with anecdotes and reminisces of the departed's life with copious amounts of alcohol to lubricate the tongue.-- The Wine/Drugs.
Generally after tragedies or disasters there's a spike in the rate of human conceptions (remember how there seemed to be a spike in the summer of 2002-- about nine months after 9/11/01? When something bad happens, we just want to be close to someone. We don't want to deal with the pain or shock on our own. We clamor for companionship... one thing leads to another... bada bing the clothes are on the floor and your smokin' fags in bed with a contented grin on your faces-- The Women/Sex.
There's generally some form of music at funerals-- usually just the mournful instrumental dirges played on an endless loop in the background at your neighbourhood funeral parlour, but sometimes it's the homely/comely church lady (which lady you get depends on your "church" I s'pose) belting out Wind Beneath My Wings or the drunk uncle that no one can quite figure out how he's related doing a rousing rendition of Sinatra's My Way at the wake-- at any rate there you have it-- The Song/Rock & Roll.
And to think the coal that stoked the fire on this train of thought was just a couple of paragraphs in a Neil Gaiman novel.