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When Tom dies, you can say whatever you want about him

Some industrial-strength party-pooper recently told me that I'm going to die some day. I had never really given it much thought, but I suppose I'm going to have to think about it at some time in the future, especially after Obama forces mandatory health insurance on me, and I have to go in front of one of the Palin Panels.

All of these thoughts about death (actually, it was only the one thought from my wet-blanket buddy) got me watching what happens when other people die, and noticing how far people will go to rewrite the deceased's personal history. It's all so unseemly.

TV pitchman Billy Mays passed away at an early age. Toxicology reports said he had cocaine in his system. His widow was aghast; no way he did cocaine, she said. They must have mixed up his findings with those of that ShamWow guy.

I've had the distinct displeasure of knowing cocaine users in the past, and it's pretty obvious that they're using. I can't imagine being married to one and not knowing. "Hey, Billy honey, you've got baby powder in that Steve Reeves, Hercules-lookin' beard of yours. That's the third time this week."

The cocaine explains one thing: All those infomercials he used to be in at 3 o'clock in the morning—he did them all live.

The way-worse one was the New York woman who killed eight people, including herself and several children, after driving for two miles the wrong way on the highway. Toxicology reports showed that she was way over the legal limit for being drunk and was high. The tests showed that she had consumed the equivalent of 10 shots of vodka in the hour leading up to the crash.

Her husband went on TV and said that his wife didn't drink, and that the only possible explanation was that his otherwise-healthy, 36-year-old wife had a stroke. C'mon, dude, I'm sorry your wife died, and I'm extra sorry for the people she killed, especially the little kids, but really, a stroke? It's hard to imagine that she could have been that much of a drinker, and you didn't know.

Worst of all in this arena are the Jacksons. There's a saying, in different forms, that goes: "Sports (or money or success) doesn't build character; it exposes it." These people are the freakin' Clampetts, perhaps the trashiest family in America. They make the skanky-ass Kardashians and bumpkin-esque Hogans look classy by comparison. It's been reported that a couple of hours after Michael's death, his sister La Toya was scouring his residence, looking for wads of cash he was known to leave lying around. His dad used his memorial service to announce the startup of a new record label. And his mother fought for custody of his kids, even though she'll be close to 100 when Blanket (or Pillowcase, or whatever that poor kid's name is) is in college.

Michael's brother Jermaine looks like he bought up (and used) all of the Botox in South America, and he has an older sister whose name is spelled "Rebbie," but insists on being called "Reebie." Yet another child left behind.

Janet Jackson once felt the need to expose her surgically altered breast to a worldwide Super Bowl TV audience, and she's generally considered the closest that family has to normal.

The most amazing thing is that the family members screamed at equal decibel levels that Michael had nothing to do with drugs and that he was the victim of foul play, probably through the administering of drugs. Make up your damn minds. Turns out he had an enormous amount of drugs in him and was a barely functioning junkie. It didn't help that his "personal physician" was a graduate of the St. Tropez Medical School and Auto-Body Shop. (That Conrad Murray guy is going to take the fall for this, but he certainly isn't the only one responsible.)

I've never had insomnia, and I hear it's really unpleasant. But if I couldn't sleep, I'd probably get up and read a book or watch a Billy Mays infomercial. I wouldn't have some quack stick a needle in my arm and keep pumping a cocktail of drugs into my frail body until one (or the combination of all of them) finally worked ... finally.

When I go, the toxicology report is going to come back stamped "Mormon." It would say "Seventh-Day Adventist," except I've been known to eat meat and smile. My BPCC (Blood Popeye's Chicken Content) will be low, seeing as I haven't had any since last May when the track team I was coaching went to state, and we just happened to stay at a hotel across the street from the Popeye's on Baseline Road in Tempe.

There won't be any alcohol, tobacco (nicotine) or drugs in my system. No medicine, either. None, unless I'm forced to take the pain pill that so many angry white people have been screaming about at the town-hall meetings.

It will probably come out at some time that I have never chewed gum, worn sandals or tasted coffee. Weird, but true. Since the toxicology stuff will be clean, you're free to say just about anything else about me after I'm gone. I promise I won't argue.

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