I know lots of people who have died to put it bluntly. Yes, I see dead people. Just kidding. Yesterday was Halloween and today is All Soul's Day. In Mexico, they celebrate by putting trinkets and reminders of the person on their grave. Say a person liked whiskey, they get a bottle of whiskey. So as you can imagine the graveyard is well.....interesting. So here is what I would get those I know who passed:
Nunni- My mom's mom who died of diabetes this year. She was a red hatter, world traveler, poet, and voted for Obama. Did I mention my Nunni was literally social director everywhere she went. Cool woman. I would get her a chocolate cake, because now she can break her diabetic diet, and also a date book where she could keep phone numbers cause I know she is still always making new friends still. Hey, you have to keep track of everyone you meet in this life or the next.
Justice Rob Wyda- Former magistrate of Bethel Park where I grew up. Died of a heart attack this past year. Good guy and cared about the young people who got in trouble. Served his country as a judge for army court in Afghanistan as well. Would get him a copy of my book because he would have bought one if given the chance. Also maybe a book about The Supreme Court. It might pass the time after my book gets tired.
Ray Payton- Comedian friend of mine who died as a result of untreated diabetes. He was a comic book artist, standup, and booker. Ray was one of the first people in NYC to give me a chance. He also liked white women, and at his funeral we all discovered Ray hit on every white bitch there. So our treat would be Jessica Stern and I dressed in black lingerie at his grave giving him a tribute.
Joe Cannava- A friend of mine who was a celebrity personal shopper, freelance stylist/designer, artist, and knew everything there was to know about music. Joe's greatest contribution in my life was that he got me to write again, and pushed me to write what is now I Came, I Saw, I Sang. He died as a result of a long battle with bipolar disorder and addiction. I would get Joe a pack of cigarettes, a Starbucks coffee, and of course Madonna tickets in advance. Bitch will be on the other side someday and the boy deserves to be the first in line. Oh and a copy of my book. He never got to read it.
Chacho Vasquez- This ball walker and champion voguer was a pain in my ass when he lived and breathed, but always made me laugh. His mad cap antics coupled with his spot on commentary made me forgive him despite my urge to strangle him. The poor thing also lost his battle with addiction. I know he has already seen Whitney Houston and Teena Marie live a billion times. So instead I would get him a Louis Vuitton bag, and steal it from Barney's. They don't stop white people as any NYer knows, and Chacho did plenty of mopping in his life. Also would get him a copy of my book too. Chacho is mentioned and would tell anyone who would listen. Great publicity.
Marty Fischer- One of the first managers to help me in comedy. He was of huge assistance when I was very new and very off. Marty was brutally honest to a fault, but always believed in me. While I didn't take all of his suggestions some were good. Things are happening and he did know his stuff. So I would leave him a DVD of the network friendly set I am working on. I think he would have a few notes but would enjoy it.
Mr. Tietz- My high school history and humanities teacher, he was an inspiring force that changed the lives of anyone he taught forever. We loved him so much that when we got a sub, not only were we sad but a small party of students went to his house to check on him. I would get the guy the latest book on Presidential Letters. I would also give him a copy of my book. While it isn't Thomas Paine, who he probably chills with on the regs, it would be good reading and I mention him too.
John Lea- Neighbor of mine who was murdered by his gay lover. I would probably give him tickets to see Whitney Houston on the other side but we know that concert is free. So like Joe, advanced tickets to Madonna.
Jorge Castro- Friend of mine who died as a result of drug fueled partying. Without going into detail, his death involved crystal meth, a hot guy, and a big black dildo all at the same time. My gift would be another black dildo in case he hasn't found a hot black dude. Also, advanced tickets to see Mariah Carey when she dies. He always did love him some crazy Mimi.
Julissa Brisman- Perhaps the most tragic on this list, Julissa died at the hands of Craigslist Killer Phillip Markoff. Yes, she died on the job. I only knew her in passing but always liked her. I would get her a fancy outfit, because she always liked nice things. Also a better bottle of dye because she was much prettier with her natural color.
Eric Yonish- High school friend and former quarterback of the football team. Died in his sleep as a result of an undetected heart defect. Always made me laugh, and had a good sense of humor. Always liked pretty cheerleaders too. Would probably get him some girly magazine because he is forever 22. Also some Heisman gear. Once a football guy, always a football guy.
Nate Stiffler- Another former classmate of mine who died in a car wreck. Nate was probably one of the nicest, most social people I knew. I would get him a pass to facebook on the other side. Also give him my Nunni's number. They could be mayor together.
Adara Almonte- We were only beginning to be friends when she passed. The events of her death remain a mystery, and out of respect for her family I will not mention them. I remember someone who supported me when not everyone did. I would give her a free copy of my book and also free tickets to any of my shows. Not just to see me but because she enjoyed live comedy a lot-whether she was performing, producing, or both. Spirits like her are needed in any and every room in any place that standup in performed.
Joey Putaro- Former classmate of mine and karate buddy who died of a heroin overdose after we graduated. Always liked the dude, he was funny and sweet. I would purchase him a new Pirates ball cap. They were in the running for the World Series this year, and he would have been proud.
Mrs. Reid- One of my high school musical directors. She was a good lady who loved music but above all things loved teaching. Mrs. Reid died during what was to be an elective and routine procedure. Anyone who knew this gifted woman was sad. Her voice was melodious and her laugh was rang like the bell choir she oversaw. I would get the woman a copy of my book, and also perhaps the best of Broadway. She would enjoy both.
Russ Kurtz- Former classmate of mine who died in action in Iraq. Well liked with a good sense of humor, he was a hero to all that knew him. My gift would be an American flag, a girly magazine, and a Nelly CD. Nineteen year old soldiers love that crap.
Marielle Westen- Former high school classmate who died as a result of a drinking contest gone wrong. I would get her a blood alcohol tester for fun. Also, a rap tape made by the Eras and I just for kicks aka my little high school crew.
Spenser Kimbrough- My college scene partner and breakfast buddy. He died under mysterious circumstances, some think an undetected heart defect but we are not sure. Either way, someone I liked. For him I would get the box set of The Color Purple and a T-shirt that said "I Fucked Ur Boyfriend," cause that's the shirt he wore the first time we had breakfast. I would also get him a copy of my book, because he always told me I was funny and encouraged me to follow my dreams onstage making people laugh. Would get him tickets to Whitney but he has probably seen her a million times and probably fought Chacho over the front row.
Eric Horvath- Former high school classmate of mine who died in a freak drowning accident. He always made me laugh. Probably would get him a hot chick magazine, and also a mix tape and some Heisman gear. He would appreciate all these things being eternally seventeen and getting under the skin of some dorky teacher on the other side.
Billy Bergman- Former classmate of my sister's from high school. Died of a heroin overdose right before their graduation. His parents came to get his diploma. I would probably give him a hockey puck and stick cause that is what he liked before drugs got him.
Aunt Peggy- My dad's older sister and the eldest of the seven siblings who comprised The Brucker Clan. She died of cancer my junior year of high school. A nurse in the head trauma unit at Mercy, she was smart and devoted to caring for others. I would get her a pack of cigarettes, some makeup (I did her makeup in the hospital), and of course a copy of my book. She was one of my biggest fans when she lived and breathed and was always very encouraging. I know she couldn't obviously attend my latest signing but she was there in spirit.
Carrie Martin- Childhood friend and former classmate of mine. She died of cancer when we were in middle school. Our families knew each other because both her brothers played football, and also through church. I would get her a Seventeen Magazine and a makeup kit. She might be eternally fourteen, but a teen likes what a teen likes. And these are two things no girl can live without.
What would you get the people you know on the other side?
Seriously, this list was a crazy, morbid way to spend my morning pages. But also a fun but poignant purge.
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl