Sunday, 24 October 2010

Funeral celebrants - why do we do it? part 1

Taking up Charles' comment on my last post - yes, sure is a canful. (Charles is talking about a canful of worms, i.e. rivalries between celebsters/minibrants cf rivalries between undertakers, and dodgy business practices to get custom.) He has berated "us" before for sucking up to undertakers.

Well, you have to go and see them, talk about what you do, let them see what sort of strange bird you are. After all, they wouldn't want to use you if they'd never met you and knew nothing about you, would they? (Though surprisingly often they have done just that.) So that seems fair enough. Beyond that, I'm not sure what kind of sucking up I could do if I tried, but maybe I lack imagination... One experienced trainer recommended to us that we visit local FDs each Christmas with a card and a tin of biscuits. What? Why? Surely they've enough integrity not to use me just because I give them a bsicuit selection from Liddel? (OK, even M&S) That's about 28 tins of biscuits (and cards), around here, and a lot of carbon miles too. No chance. So I ignored that advice. Doesn't seem to have damaged my work too badly. 75cl of something warming to the blokes at the local crems who work so hard and deal with people so well in such a crappy (in one case) environment, that's a different matter.

I could, of course, turn down a request for a funeral from an FD of whom I disapproved (the reverse of sucking up , I guess...) but what would happen then? Nothing untoward, provided the FD went to a celebster who was as good or better than me - and before you ask, yes, I'm sure there are very many! But not so many round here, we're thin on the ground, however we're badged. And I would do slightly fewer funerals.

Now here's an odd thing - we - at least, those of us I've met - actually want to do this stuff, find it rewarding (in other than a financial sense) and provided we are not overworking want to keep doing it. In an odd way, despite the tensions, the sadnesses and the problems, we seem to like doing it. We probably worry a bit if suddenly we aren't being contacted, even though we know perfectly well that there is probably no particular reason for it. Maybe it's not too self-righteous to say that we think our work helps people, but I think there's more to it than that.

Which brings me to the real can of worms, which is is maybe and ultimately about why we do this odd thing. I'm trying not to write excessively long posts, so I'll have a think on this topic and drone on about it next time.

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