Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Here's an unusual calling

An Upper East Side 20-something, rich, into the party scene, a jet setter, lost her beloved father and organized his services at a very chi-chi, expensive New York funeral home--last stop of all the stars and celebs.

In her memoirs, titled Good Mourning, Elizabeth Meyer recalls going back to the funeral home a month later and basically asking for a job. Her selling point--she understood rich people, knew many of the people who would come there, and was a good event planner for charities and the like.

They took her on as a receptionist, which immediately ignites the jealous ire of her Hispanic fellow receptionists, who jab at her like crazy in Spanish. But she buys comfy shoes, a couple of somber black blazers, and gets down to it.

As she says a hundred times, she likes helping people in a terrible time in their lives. She does have a knack for it--creating special displays of the departeds' prize possessions (in one case, lining his Lamborghinis along the street outside the mortuary). She bags the lilies and gets quality flowers. She always has tissues near at hand. Richard Gere even asks her where the bathroom is.

The latter is no big thing to her--although she mentions no names or almost none, she makes it clear she is no stranger to the rich and famous crowd. In two instances, she walks into the embalming room and sees a friend on the table.

Speaking of embalming, she is mercifully short on gruesome details, although she is buds with the embalmer, Bill. The worst part was when she first went with Bill to someone's ritzy coop to retrieve a body and it "leaked" on her designer shoes. That might have been MY last day on the job, but she took it in stride and never wore good shoes again.

The message--despite her family's horror at her new occupation, she persisted. She wanted to do it and did it. She stayed more than a year--finally, the flak from the resentful receptionist peanut gallery got to be too much and she resigned--but is still a consultant to the business.

So go know.

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