We were not close friends, but were close enough that I shed a few tears at the news and wrote her a long letter which she will never get to read.
Her name was Nicola. She was known to one and all as Mrs Barnes, or Barnsie. A bright, intelligent woman whose body, unfortunately, just couldn't keep up with all that her spirit demanded from it.
The best way to sum up Barnsie is: Fun.
She had this deliciously evil sense of humour, where she would feign outraged indignation at some comment I'd make, and then respond with a quip that would be even further down the sewers than I could handle.
Who else could keep an argument about Snoopy and the Red Baron going for over a month?
She died in Auckland after a major operation. We were all expecting her to pull through. It was inconceivable that she wouldn't. I was expecting to be joking with her at the office Christmas party.
But she's had the last laugh. You see, she left instructions not to be embalmed, which means her last big trip is from Auckland to Wellington... on ice. Good one, Barnsie.
So, in her memory I dedicated my Twitter posts today to death, or more specifically, making fun of death.
Here are some that I was quite happy with:
- I'd like to dig my own grave. I'd be like: "Man, I dig you. You're such an awesome hole in the ground..."
- ReinCARnation and Carma. Where you come back as a type of motorvehicle depending on your life. I'm comin' back as a Yugo.
- Debts: What you accumulate so you have something to laugh about when you die.
- What if Jesus' name wasn't Jesus at all? What if he was actually called Kevin? Then you could say: "I thought I'd died and gone to Kevin."
- When dealing with death, it pays not to do so from the bottom of the deck.
- In Hollywood it only seems to rain in cemeteries. Serious drought? No worries, build a cemetery...
- Death is so absolute. Wouldn't it be better if it was more vague? "Can't take your call right now, I'm kinda dead. Leave a message..."
- I got a message from beyond the grave. It was right behind this bloke's tombstone. It said: "Keep off the grass".
- If you find yourself at death's door, say "Can I interest you in a new set of encyclopedias?" and you'll be good for another 20 years.