Lawlessly Yours column

Bill Lawless.
Bill Lawless.
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Yea verily, in the midst of life we are in debt.

And the deeper you sink the more people will worry about you. Comfort yourself with that thought when the morning mail is enough to curdle your breakfast porridge and evaporate the glass of scotch you splash on the grey goo to mask the taste.

These days, of course, you will be showered with junk mail inviting you to voyage even further up the creek in the barbed wire canoe and purchase things you never knew you wanted for money you never knew you had.

There is nothing new in junk mail, nor in desperate marketing pitches. Here’s a beaut of early Victorian vintage to senior citizens of a big American city taken from a history of advertisments:

“Dear sir, having proof positive that you are rapidly approaching death’s door, I have thought it not imprudent to call your attention to the enclosed advertisement of my abundant stock of ready-made coffins,” it opened up cheerfully

And continued: “I desire also to make the suggestion that you signify to family and friends a wish for the purchase of your burial outfit at my establishment.”

That last bit was a shaker coming as it did when the west was wild.

I always thought that they died with their boots on in a woolen vest under a denim shirt, both garments perforated like a collander with great big .45 calibre bullet holes.

I never thought they wore a new suit for their burial ceremony at the local Boot Hill. Wonder they weren’t dug up later brushed down and recycled as a loot suit.

We’ll never know what the response was to this impertiment pitch but my distinguished ancestor Wild Bill Lawless would have saddled up and shot round to the undertaker, rammed his six-guns up each nostril and demanded to see the ‘proof positive’ that the end was nigh on pain of being planted in his own gear.

But it does go to show that oldies have always been the target for ads of dubious authenticity, like 60 is the new 40 provided the wrinkles are well sprinkled with pure old Peruvian panther pee available at this very instant at a mere fiver a bottle.

I suppose the Egyptians started it with the embalming process, but that’s really old hat these days when mummy is supposed to continue to look great long after her demise. Bet she doesn’t feel too great though after a few thousand years without a drink...