Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Reconstruction Work" by Bruce Holland Rogers

This is a story of a man at a funeral home of a wealthy woman.  He was standing at her casket when her granddaughter came in.  He wouldn't leave, even when the granddaughter waited at a distance.  Finally she walked up and he told her how he knew her grandmother.  He said that her father doted on her, which the granddaughter disagreed with and said that he did things to her, her grandmother told her so.  The man said that the father was a gentleman when gentleman actually meant something.  As the man walked away he knew that the granddaughter might still believe what her grandmother had told her but he had planted a seed of doubt.  That's what he does plant seeds of one kind or another about that father since he had died and he would do so until the mortuary endowment runs out.

It took me awhile to get this at first.  I didn't know if this man was the grandmother's father, but then I thought about how old he would have had to be.  I truly had to think and then I realized the title of the work and how the speaker talks about how he doesn't do plastic surgery but another kind of reconstruction work.  The mortuary was paid to have people say good things about the father in this story and until the money ran out that's exactly what these people would do.  They planted seeds of doubt of every story that people had heard about him to make him look a little better.  What truly happened was that this father, Francis Fordham, was a bad man.  He didn't do things that people would want to remember him in a good way.  To this day people want to be remembered positively they don't want people to think poorly of them.  People want this so badly that they'll pay a mortuary to have people plant seeds of doubt in those who do know the truth.

I find it strange that people would rather lead a terrible life and pay someone to lie about them once they're gone than to lead a wonderful life and be remembered for who they REALLY were.

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