A few days ago the United Methodist Church sent me a reminder that I have a $25,000 life insurance policy and can name my beneficiary. And, since my wife and I are in the process of rewriting our will (again), I thought I'd leave some of this insurance benefit to establish a scholarship . . . in the event of my untimely death due to lack of tourniquet or if I eat a poison toadstool.
Likewise, I thought it would be a good idea to make sure Becky knew where all of my valuables were kept (in case I die and she can't locate the key to the lockbox that I keep hidden inside a body cavity). I told her, "Don't forget all of the floppy disks loaded with books, all of the computers stored in the closet that are chocked-full of essays, the piles of manuscripts that will be, upon my death, worth millions of dollars!"
"How will I know where to look?" she asked.
"You won't!" I said. "It took me thirty years to write all of this garbage and it will take you at least thirty years to read, collate, index, prepare, and submit it for publication. If I die, you'll have to quit your job, dedicate ten to twelve hours a day to this sorting and indexing, and you'll probably have to hire a couple of college kids and perhaps, even a high school student. Oh, and you won't have time to date, either. Any time you waste on eHarmony will affect the work you'll need to do on my life's work, and I'd stay away from Match.com, too. Somewhere in all this stuff there's a box of love letters that I meant to give you, and it will take you at least ten years to locate it. But it's worth looking for. You'll enjoy the verse when you find it. And, like I say, there's big money in posthumous work. I'll leave a list of editors who will want to work with you and pay you top dollar for one of my manuscripts now that I'm dead. Got it?"
She was already asleep.
I never did get to show her where I was hiding the key to the lockbox and had to keep it on my person. I slept in fits, and when I rolled onto my right side, I could feel the teeth of the key.