I made it to my 60s without irritating too many people, and now it's time to consider what legacy, if any, will remain after I die.
Any leftover money should be spent on a lavish farewell wake and community party. My adult children won't be inheriting stock portfolios or trunks full of gold. By not having those assets, I've saved my heirs from dealing with multiple accountants, estate lawyers, tax attorneys and nefarious scoundrels who will take every dime they inherit. My kids do, however, have a chance to own my treasured collection of wine corks from around the world and several baskets of finger puppets. I hope they won't fight over them.
My kids already have the best gift I could share: a sense of humor. In a wicked world spewing toxic drama and trauma, they possess the ability to laugh in the face of chaos and spit in the eye of the storm. These are essential skills to have as they boldly jump out of the proverbial handbasket going to hell.
For more than 30 years, their comedic talents have caused me to laugh until I snort. This raw ability came in handy during their volatile teenage years when they tested my patience and failed the test. Just as I was ready to use my outside voice when my son missed his curfew, he would come home and share humorous stories of adventure and victimless pranks accomplished with his friends. I tried to stifle my amusement, but it was impossible to be mad at him. He always made me laugh.
My daughter knew how to use silly dialects and animal noises to distract any pending consequences for breaking the rules. If she behaved beyond the normal shenanigans and anticipated my disapproval, she would race into the room, tilt back her head, grab her tongue, and baa like a wounded sheep. There was no use trying to maintain any semblance of parental authority. If I had practiced this clever technique with my father, I wouldn't have been grounded for 40 years.
My children grew up to become happy, productive adults with loving spouses and laughing children. Their two families include four adults, five children and two dogs, and they often take vacations together. During the last camping trip, they each posed in various yoga positions on a rock overlooking a picturesque river. Ranging in age from three to 46, their techniques included my daughter's physically toned Lord of the Dance Pose and my son's creative Danish Flying Old Viking Pose. I laughed out loud seeing the collage of photographs.
Laughter truly is the best medicine, and my children and their children should live healthy lives and giggle well into old age. I'm looking forward to the time when my grandchildren will avoid parental reprimands by telling tall tales and creating animated excuses.
If this next generation of children inherits the gifts of humor, they will be rich, indeed, and can happily continue the family legacy of laughter tax-free.