Archive for November 27th, 2012

There is an old story about a gathering for a funeral.  The mourners have come out of a sense of obligation rather than through any fondness for the departed.  The minister sensing a feeling in the air asks, “Would anyone like to say a few words about our brother Fred?
There is an embarrassed silence as people look at their feet or stare fixedly into the middle distance so as not to catch the minister’s eye.
Feeling awkward about the situation and feeling that someone should say something, the minister asks again, “Would anyone care to say a few words about Fred?
Again, there is silence, no-one prepared to venture even a word.  As the silence drags out the sense of awkwardness continues, people furtively glancing around to see if anyone will speak.  Eventually, a man, a contemporary of Fred, feels compelled to speak up:  “His brother was worse”.
[The Latin phrase translates roughly as:  “Say nothing but good of the dead.”   In “normal” usage, this would mean the recently deceased.  I don’t know anyone who has recently passed away.  I stumbled across the Latin phrase and researching it’s origin on the internet turned up several pages with similar stories.  The faith of the “minister” and the name of the deceased varied, but the story was the essentially the same…   In any case, the story made me smile.   —    KMAB]

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