Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Merci for Not Expiring

"The mayor of a French Mediterranean town, faced with a cemetery ‘full to bursting,’ has banned local residents from dying until he can find somewhere else to bury them.

Gil Bernardi, mayor of Le Lavandou on the coast 15 miles west of Saint Tropez, introduced the ban after a court rejected his plans to build a cemetery in a tranquil setting by the sea.

Bernardi said most locals had obeyed the edict so far, but he was desperately trying to find a resting place for a homeless man who had recently passed away in the town.

‘Initially, the decree has been remarkably well followed,’ the mayor said."
  — "French Mayor Bans Residents from Dying," Reuters, 8/22/02

If you want to skip a jailing
when your body takes to ailing
     And the doctor starts to shake his head and sigh,
Just don’t find yourself a-dwellin’
in the town that makes a felon
     Out of any citoyen who tries to die.

If your chest hurts something awful,
go and do it where it’s lawful:
     The boneyard’s full in fair Le Lavandou.
All the signs they’re now requiring
say "Merci for not expiring!"—
     Find somewhere else to bid your last adieu.

When your breathing turns to wheezing,
Mayor Gil you’ll be displeasing,
     And he’ll cut you with his fearsome Gallic scowl:
"Not in this town—it’s illicit.
Could we make it more explicit?
     Get up, get out, allez," he’ll fairly growl.

When you’re nearly nonexistent,
Mayor Gil is most insistent:
     "Just hit the road—you might try St. Tropez."
If you’re soon to be deceasing,
say bonjour to French policing
     When you pick Le Lavandou to pass away.