I Googled Myself and Learned I Was Dead

July 31, 2011 by

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The other day I Googled myself and came up with an obituary. On a site devoted to remembering recently deceased loved ones, I found an entry for Roz Warren which began: “Roz, your leaving has created a void which can never be filled.”

It felt good to read that, even if it wasn’t actually about me. After all, it could have been.

The obit went on: “I will forever miss the sound of your voice, your great laugh and your sense of humor.”

That was a little strange. I do have a great laugh and sense of humor. After all, I am a humor writer.

Maybe I’d managed to die without realizing it?

Heaven could well be a place where you can’t remember dying and you spend your time reading the wonderful things your bereaved loved ones have to say about you.

But then I got to: “You possessed the ultimate in elegance and an innate talent for creating beauty in all your surroundings.”

I possess the ultimate in clutziness and have an innate talent for neglecting the vacuuming. This wasn’t my obit after all.

Then, with the conclusion, came the kicker: “Roz was a great lady — a fashion maven, a wonderful wife, a caring mother and a truly lovely person.”

Clearly, this other Roz was much better at being Roz Warren than I am. I’m no lady. And nobody in their right mind would ever call me a “fashion maven.” (I’d wear jeans to a wedding if I thought I could get away with it.) Wonderful wife? I kicked my ex to the curb back in 1999 and never looked back. I can claim to be a caring mother. But my wonderful son makes that easy. And while I have my moments, I don’t think I’m a “truly lovely person.”  More of an “occasionally lovely person.”

Clearly, I wasn’t the Roz Warren who’d died. But now I was curious about this person who’d pulled off being Roz Warren with such elegance and grace. Who was she?

More Google research turned up the fact that she’d died after “a courageous battle against cancer.” Thankfully, she first enjoyed a long, full life. Some things in her obit made it seem as if we were identical twins separated at birth. For instance: “Roz was admired and respected for her honesty, integrity and strong character.”

Photo: Chris Jupin

I am honest to a fault. And I have an exceptionally “strong character” assuming this is a euphemism for “bossy and opinionated.”

“Roz was a friend for life for those lucky and deserving people she chose to embrace.”

I’m still in touch with my closest sixth grade pal, and my college roomie and I remain the best of chums.

“Her love of animals was profound — not only the lucky ones who shared her home over the years, but also the many dogs she knew by name in the park.“

My love of animals is also profound. (I prefer most parakeets to most people.)

Roz Warren and I had plenty in common. But there were crucial differences. For instance, her “extraordinary 23-year modeling career.”

While I am reasonably attractive, nobody has ever suggested that I belong on (or anywhere near) a magazine cover or a runway.

“Roz was one of the reigning queens of the 50s and 60s on Seventh Avenue.”

I am one of the reigning librarians behind the circulation desk at the Bala Cynwyd Library.

“Charles James insisted that all Saks mannequins be patterned after her figure.”

Definitely not me. Not with this tushie. (Although it would be an interesting change if Saks mannequins were to be patterned after a middle-aged librarian.)

“Roz showed privately for Jacqueline Kennedy and The Duchess of Windsor and was a personal favorite of Lady Bird Johnson.”

Wow! I was starting to feel very humble. This other Roz Warren was a STAR!

“Roz will be deeply missed by all her family and friends. She will remain in our hearts forever.”

That’s lovely and heart-warming, and I was glad to read it. She sounds like a remarkable woman and I’m sorry she’s gone. I can only hope she’s up in heaven, reading her obituary and smiling.

I want to make the donation in her name to the ASPCA that the obit suggested, but a check from Roz Warren to honor the memory of Roz Warren might seem strange. If not downright creepy. But I can walk the dog to the post office, get a money order, and send in my donation anonymously. And I’ll wear my nicest outfit when I take that stroll. I think she would have liked that.

This essay was originally published in Mindful Metropolis and is re-published here with the permission of the author.

Roz Warren is a humor writer whose work appears in The Funny Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Utne Reader and Beatniks from Space.


2 Comments on "I Googled Myself and Learned I Was Dead"

  1. Eleanore Wells on Sun, 31st Jul 2011 9:10 pm 

    Creepy. And, yet, lovely.

    eleanore – The Spinsterlicious Life

  2. Kate on Mon, 1st Aug 2011 8:41 am 

    That’s brillant! And astonishing. I think I’ll go write my own obituary, to cheer myself up.

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