Today we are excited to welcome Donna Parisi to My Shelf Confessions! She’s been gracious enough to give us some time and answer a few questions. Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win Putting Makeup on Dead People where you can read more of her story, link below.
Hello Donna, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, especially the recent changes in your life?
Well, I’m eighteen, and I like dead people. That makes me feel a little like I’m at a self-help meeting. And self-conscious. Can we talk about you instead?
What is one thing you love about working at the mortuary? One thing you don’t like?
I don’t like the weird feeling I get when we order pizza, and the pizza delivery guy acts like he can’t get out of there fast enough. You wouldn’t believe how many times we don’t even get to tip them because they leave so fast. It makes me feel a little like I’m contagious or scary, when being here actually feels so normal to me.
What I’m starting to really love is talking with people who come in, helping them to feel more comfortable at a horrible time, making room for them to be how they are. I remember how awful it was when Dad died, how many stupid things people said, supposedly to make me feel better, when all I really needed was for someone to tell me it was okay to feel awful.
What is the funniest comment you’ve heard someone say while trying to be comforting at a funeral, to date?
Just last week, we had a funeral for an old Dayton radio announcer, DJ Jazzy Ralph. And the station manager, a tiny, seventy-nine year old woman, who I think might have been hitting on Ralph’s brother, Bert, just kept saying, in this squeaky voice, “Ralph just really knew how to jam.” And she’d shake her head like she was really sad, but then kept reapplying her orange lipstick when Bert turned the other way.
If you planned your own funeral, what would you want to wear, how would the service go, would you pick a certain song to be played or sung?
Probably something with sequins, because, well, why wouldn’t I? And I think I would want a disco ball as part of the service and maybe they’d play that Donna Sommer song “Last Dance,” which my relatives all love to use to end weddings. Although I wouldn’t admit it to them, I like how that song starts slow and then rocks out. So maybe even if everyone felt all slow and sad ‘cause they were at a funeral, the song might help them to feel better when it starts to pick up.
Have you been involved in any funerals of particular interest lately?
Definitely DJ Jazzy Ralph’s. Rhonda in the Morning stood at the door of Brighton Brothers during the viewing and in her most perky morning radio voice, announced everyone who came in.
Do you have a favorite book? If so, what makes it your favorite?
I love the old Andersen’s Fairy Tales book Mom has at her house. It says “Profusely Illustrated” on the cover, and that makes me laugh. Also, on the black and white drawings inside, B and Linnie and I made some really interesting colored pencil choices, which Mom was not pleased about at all. I especially liked the Thumbelina story. She gets to ride on a lily pad pulled by a butterfly—how awesome is that?
Okay, onto some random questions!
If you could be anyone else besides yourself, who would you want to be?
I think my friend Liz. She’s really just amazing.
Would you rather be ruled exclusively by your heart OR exclusively by your mind?
My Aunt Selena would say it’s not about either or; it’s about everything. So I don’t think I’d want to pick. I feel like I need both. If you said I had to choose or you were going to bury me alive in a creepy coffin, I guess I’d pick heart. But remember, it’s because you threatened me.
Would you rather have a photographic memory OR extra sensory perception (ESP)?
What if I told you I had both already? Just kidding. Hmm. I think a photographic memory for sure. There are some things I just don’t want to actually see, like ghosts or garden gnomes that come to life.
Do you believe in ghosts or evil spirits? Would you be willing to spend the night alone in a remote house that is supposedly haunted?
Well, I guess saying I don’t want to see them means I believe they’re there. I just don’t want to see them. And no way would I spend the night in a remote haunted house. I’d rather sleep in the basement of Brighton Brothers with all the dead bodies.
Thanks for coming to My Shelf Confessions, will you share a confession with us, be it funny or serious?
Thank you! My confession: being interviewed is really terrifying, but I also think it’s exciting. And, I’m kind of afraid of trail mix—I think it’s the raisins; they’re just not natural—but please don’t tell Charlie. He loves that stuff.
Be sure to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Putting Makeup on Dead People! I have 5 copies to give out so we will have 5 lucky winners! CLICK HERE