SIMONE VIRZI — News Writer
I don’t even want to attempt to count the amount of times I have stumbled across the cliché “Live life to the fullest” in my life. I get it: live it up. Don’t worry about the little things. Do these sound like motivating suggestions? Sure. But I don’t need preaching. Yes, I am stressed on a regular basis, but in the same breath, I certainly know how to have fun as well.
Last weekend, I came across a man, Michael “Flathead” Blanchard, who also knew how to have a good time.
I did not know the Colorado native personally, but I felt like I knew him after reading his obituary. Originally in The Denver Post, the Huffington Post wrote an article about the obituary with the headline “Michael ‘Flathead’ Blanchard Obituary Could Be Best Ever.” At this time, I would like to point out my mom showed it to me: it was on AOL’s homepage.
After reading the Post’s article, I found myself on The Denver Post’s website to read his full obituary. It read: “Weary of reading obituaries noting someone’s courageous battle with death, Mike wanted it to be known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.”
Yes, that’s what it said.
I cannot speak for everyone, but I certainly cannot say I have ever come across an obituary that is so blunt and lively. As I read it, I found myself smiling because I could tell Flathead was an energetic man who really took advantage of his time alive. If I were to use two words to describe him, I would have to say: Total badass.
Unfortunately, a photograph of Flathead was not included, but I can picture him with white hair and facial hair. I could see him rocking a few faded tattoos he got when he was younger. I imagine he had a little bit of a beer belly and his choice of pants were blue jeans with a black leather belt. I am also guessing he was one of those people you loved or hated, but everyone knew him. I cannot picture him as a timid or verbally reserved man; I have the impression everyone knew when he was in the room.
I suppose some may find it weird I gave a stranger’s obituary a second thought, but Flathead’s obituary was truly unique. While most obituaries state the time and location of a wake and funeral, and where a donation can be made, Flathead’s obituary went in a slightly different direction.
His obituary ended with: “So many of his childhood friends that weren’t killed in Vietnam went on to become criminals, prostitutes and/or Democrats. He asks that you stop by and re-tell the stories he can no longer tell. As the Celebration will contain Adult material we respectfully ask that no children under 18 attend.”
Since children were not allowed to attend, I’m assuming inappropriate stories would be shared, which says an awful lot about Flathead. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I get the impression he lived for himself and did what made him happy, even if not everyone approved. I also have a feeling he had a few encounters with cops.
Unfortunately, a “celebration of his life” was held last Saturday, and I was not going to travel to Colorado to say goodbye to Flathead, although I would have loved to hear the stories about him. I picture his guests being upset, but at the same time I can imagine them referring to him as a “crazy bastard” and laughing as they reminisce about the good times. I also imagine whiskey and beer being consumed.
Although I did not get to meet him, I wish he rests in peace or continues to raise hell, wherever he may be. I also hope others are inspired by Flathead and feel empowered to have the best time they possibly can. After all, no one is invincible, and each person’s road comes to an end at some point.
I know my goal is to rock out, all the way to the grave.