June 19, 2002

A Near-Death Experience

By Roy Rivenburg
Kevorkian Mentor Bureau: After centuries of avoiding the press, Death is now granting interviews right and left to promote his new autobiography, ‘‘I’m OK, You’re DOA.’’ Dressed in a hooded brocade robe (with a Ralph Lauren polo emblem on the breast pocket) and carrying a Ginsu scythe, the Grim Reaper recently spoke to Off-Kilter.

Question: Mr. Reaper ...
Answer: Please! Call me Grim.
Q: OK, Grim, your memoirs hint at an unhappy childhood. Can you tell us a little about it?
A: Well, until I discovered my gift, I constantly got picked on and beat up. But after that, I was treated with respect. I was elected class president, helped edit the school newspaper and was voted ‘‘most likely to slaughter millions of innocent humans.’’
Q: Do you like your job?
A: It’s a living.
Q: But don’t you have trouble sleeping at night, knowing all the pain and suffering you cause?
A: Look, I am sick and tired of everyone blubbering about all the poor dead people and their poor grieving relatives. Does anybody ever consider MY feelings? Noooooo. It’s always about the ‘‘victims.’’
Q: How are you able to kill so many people simultaneously?
A: It’s similar to the way Santa Claus delivers presents to the entire world in a single night.
Q: You have reindeer and a sleigh?
A: No, just a technique I picked up by reading ‘‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Mortality.’’
Q: Where do you live?
A: Basically, I’m on the road a lot, although I’ve been thinking about getting a place in India or Pakistan.
Q: What are you reading these days?
A: ‘‘Chicken Soup for the Homicidal Maniac’s Soul.’’ It has some really heartwarming stories.
Q: Any hobbies?
A: I like country music a lot. And crocheting. But I spend most of my spare time the way other guys do -- tinkering in the garage, channel-surfing and developing penicillin-resistant viruses.
Q: How’s your love life?
A: Sadly, I have trouble getting dates, even though people tell me I’m a real lady-killer.
Q: Has your job changed over the years?
A: There’s a lot more paperwork today. Before, I could kill indiscriminately, no questions asked. But now I have to get permits, fill out forms for God and Satan, etc. It’s a wonder I get anything done.
Q: What was your toughest assignment?
A: Dallas, 1963. Oswald was such a bad shot. You wouldn’t believe the way I had to make that bullet dance to pull it off.
Q: Is that your proudest accomplishment?
A: No, that would be the plague. It was a real breakthrough for me.
Q: Have you ever blown an assignment?
A: Very rarely. Lazarus and Jesus, of course. And Elvis. I actually had Presley in custody, but someone in legal found a typo in the paperwork and we had to release him. My secretary had misspelled his middle name as Aron instead of Aaron. So he went into hiding. But I follow the supermarket tabloids, so I’ll find him.
Q: What’s your salary?
A: I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you.

Alarming Trends Bureau: The maker of Dreyer’s and Edy’s brand ice cream has introduced a Scooby-Doo-flavored ice cream.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Rich Wacko Uses Dead Dwarf as Hood Ornament!’’ (Weekly World News)

Bonus headline, also from WWN: ‘‘Jimmy Hoffa Found -- In Elvis’ Grave!’’

Unpaid Informants: Ann Harrison, Susanna Timmons, PR Newswire.

Copyright 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
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