Friday, January 27, 2006

This epitaph is D.O.A.

Dozens of websites devoted to "humorous epitaphs" feature this purported "actual epitaph of Elizabeth Rich, Eufaula, Alabama":

Honey you don't know what you did for me,
Always playing the lottery.
The numbers you picked came in to play,
Two days after you passed away.
For this, a huge monument I do erect,
For now I get a yearly check.
How I wish you were alive,
For now we are worth 8.5.

Some websites include the purported winning numbers "36-33-01-24-17" as the first line of the epitaph. Some websites give the location as "Eufaula Historical Cemetery" (there's no such place). Some websites misspell "Eufaula" as "Eufala."

But no website provides any corroborating details of who "Elizabeth Rich" was, what her widower's name was, or when and where he supposedly won this $8.5 million jackpot. Presumably it would have been in the Georgia Lottery; Eufaula is on the Georgia line, and Alabama has no lottery. The Georgia Lottery opened for business in 1993, so this "actual epitaph" would have to have been written fairly recently. And if any Eufaula resident had won $8.5 million in the Georgia Lottery only days after his wife's death, then erected a "huge monument" to thank her in the form of a humorous poem, this odd set of circumstances certainly would have been widely covered by the press. In fact, no online news archive says anything about a posthumously lucky "Elizabeth Rich" or the jokey monument erected in her honor.

The endlessly repeated phrase "actual epitaph," the complete lack of verifiable information, the utter silence of online news archives, and the rather-too-pat coincidence of the surname "Rich" all lead me to classify this one as a made-up piece of Internet humor with a spurious name and location attached.

And it's not a good poem, either!


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