I know there were many people who wanted to go to the wake and couldn't for one reason or another and I count myself fortunate to be a local. There's no way I could have afforded it if I wasn't. Heck, even then I still debated because of the time I'd have to take off of work in the midst of the bookstore's big move. The reason for the wake is a sad one and I'm not close to Jay however, it was one of those rare occasions that I knew I would regret passing up. Besides, I've never been to a wake, let alone a wake/roast and I don't know when or if the chance will come again. I realize it's a strange reason to go, and I'm not eager to see anyone die but there it is.
I expected to only know a couple people there from the local community and there were a lot of people I didn't know. Friends and fans of Jay's came from all over the world to attend. However, there were quite a few people that I did know including Howard Taylor from Utah and Ruth Nestvold from Germany. The event itself began with Jay's casket being carried in by a dozen strapping men. In true Jay style, he promptly popped out of his own casket. Apparently it was hot and stuffy in there.
After an amazing meal the love fest and jibes commenced. A friend from New Zealand sent a hilarious video sharing some embarrassing memories of Jay (beware the Japanese cat poo candy) and because he's an evil opportunist, he Rick rolled us. Another friend asked the female attendees to raise their hands if we hadn't slept with Jay. He then pointed at each of us and told Jay that he couldn't die yet.
The night progressed in this fashion. More jokes at Jay's expense followed by a hearty laugh from all. Occasionally Jay would fire back a witty retort. The Merry Mourners sang songs, recited poems, and told a lot of bad puns. Then another friend would step up to roast Jay. A couple times Team E shared a piece of pilfered writing from Jay's basement, including "How to Buy Toilet Paper". A piece that Ken Scholes wrote for a past JayCon was read aloud by a friend since Ken wasn't able to be there in person. The final speaker of the night was Jay himself who gave his heartfelt thanks to everyone. He also shared the wonderful news that he may have more time left than originally thought.
I spent far more than I should have on merchandise but Jay is worth it. Oh yeah, I also did this:
I'm a part-time vampire. How could I resist the chance to lie in another man's casket? (It's really comfy and I wish I'd brought my fangs.)
Despite the fact that I was very fatigued from work I'm really glad I went. There was so much love and joy and mirth in the room that the solemn moments couldn't overshadow it. If anything can be taken from this night it's that one should always live life to the fullest because we don't know how much time any of us have left.