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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)

TITLE: A Selfless Woman
By aaron donley


“ ‘A Selfless Woman, Devoted Wife and Friend.’ Why did you pick that epitaph for the tombstone?”

“Why? What’s wrong with the epitaph?

“I don’t know, I’ve always had a problem with the word “selfless.” It sounds too close to ‘selfish.’”


“Yeah, I don’t think two polar opposite words should sound so alike. Selfless, selfish, it’s confusing for people.”

“Yeah, you might have a point.”

“Why did you get to write the epitaph anyway?”

“Because, mom asked me.”

“She specifically asked you? Without even considering what I might have to contribute?”


“Did she give you any reason why?”

“No, not really. She just said that you would probably screw it up.”

“That I would screw it up?”

“Yeah. That’s what she said. She said Aunt Mildred never liked you anyway and besides, you weren’t ‘epitaph material.’”

“I’m not epitaph material?! I am soo epitaph material. I write a killer epitaph. Better than, “selfless woman” anyway. That doesn’t even rhyme.”

“Oh yeah? What would you have written?”

“I don’t know. How about something like, ‘Devoted Wife, Sister and Pal. All in All, One Heck of a Gal.’”

“ ‘All in all, one heck of a gal?’ That’s ridiculous.”

“It’s not that bad. I wouldn’t call it ridiculous.”

“First of all, it is that bad. And secondly, epitaphs aren’t supposed to rhyme anymore. It’s passé.”

“Really, it’s passé?”

“Yeah, very passé. Very 19th century passé.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. Hey, where did you get that shirt they put Aunt Mildred in?”

“I don’t know, it was in her closet at the nursing home. Why?”

“Well, because Aunt Millie came up to me at the viewing and said it was her shirt.”

“She what? She said that to you?”

“Yeah. She said it was her favorite shirt and she had been looking for it for a long time and that she had always suspected that Aunt Mildred took it. So I told her you would get it for her.”

“What?! Why would you do that?!”

“I don’t know. She was crying and there were people around, she said it was the last thing Uncle Gary gave her before he died-“

“And you told her that I could get it for her?”

“Yeah, I said that you were the guy in charge of all the epitaphs and funeral arrangements and stuff.”

“What, am I just supposed to take the shirt off of our elderly aunt’s dead back?”

“Yeah, pretty much. Besides, Aunt Mildred’s body is just a shell anyway, she’ll be fine.”

“Why don’t you at least give me your undershirt to put on her.”

“No way. I’m not giving her my shirt.”

“Well, we need to get her changed before the funeral. C’mon, don’t be so selfish. It’s your dead Aunt’s body.”

“Yeah, but she never liked me. And by the way, I’m not a selfish person. She’s a selfish person. Taking Aunt Millie’s shirt like that. You should have put ‘A Selfish Woman, Devoted Wife and Friend’ on the epitaph. She was a very selfish woman. And now she’s just going to pay the price and have her bosoms exposed for all eternity.”

“You’re giving her the shirt. It’s a plain black shirt isn’t it?”

“Almost. It say’s ‘I’d be black and blue for the Crue.’ It’s my Motley Crue 89 world tour t-shirt.”

“You’re an adult now. You realize that.”

“I know, I just wanted to wear a black undershirt and it’s the only one I had.”

“Well, she’s going to have to wear it.”

“I don’t want to give her my Crue shirt. It’s vintage.”

“Stop being so selfish.”

“I’m not selfish! If anyone is selfish it’s Millie! Who asks for the shirt off of her dead sisters back?!”

“Listen, your giving Aunt Mildred the Crue shirt. It’s supposed to be a closed casket anyway. We’re going to the funeral home right now and making the swap.”


“I can’t believe they opened the casket. It was supposed to be a closed casket.”

“No kidding. And how about Aunt Millie wearing the shirt we took off of Mildred to the funeral?”

“Yeah. Wow. Hey, good recovery by the way with your speech. Mixing in that story about Aunt Mildred’s love for heavy metal really tied the whole thing together. You’re a great liar, you know that?”

“Yeah, I’m a pretty good epitaph writer too.”

“And you’re one heck of a pal.”

“Well, it’s better than being selfish I guess.”

“Yeah, nothing’s worse than that.”

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This article has been read 1125 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Maxx .02/21/05
If there's a comedy prize, this is your winner! ROFL!
aaron donley02/21/05
Incredible! Who is this genius of epic proportions?! (And, I've heard that he's incredibly good looking.) Wow.
Jamie Driggers02/21/05
I laughed 'til I cried! Somebody call Hollywood, they have a new writer!
Mandy Houk02/21/05
In a class by itself -- what a riot! And yes, I've heard Mr. Donley is quite the stud, with a luxurious head of hair to boot.
Christe McKittrick02/21/05
Wow. I'm still laughing. I know these people. They live in every family...from the aunt to the newphews. Sounds like a clean version of "Six Feet Under." This guy should be writing scripts. Super ability to tell the story with only dialog. Well done!
Kathy Ellis02/22/05
"and now she's going to pay the price and have her bosoms exposed for all eternity." What an unforgettable line! This is hilarious!
donna robinson02/24/05
I can't type, I'm still laughing!!
Kathryn Wickward09/16/05
I laughed until I cried. That was wonderful!