When famous people die, the stories of their passing are published almost instantaneously. That’s because someone on the newspaper staff goes to a file and pulls out an obituary written in advance, kind of like making an extra loaf of bread, and while you’re at it, stashing another one in the freezer in case company shows up. Unfortunately, this visitor will be a skeleton holding a scythe.

This year, Spouser and I are planning to visit India to present his mother with a face-to-face “howdy-do.” The looming voyage abroad is on the horizon, and due to occasional random acts of terror in that area, the thought of death has crossed my mind a time or two, particularly in the middle of the night. Maybe I should write my own “pony tag obit,” just in case.

But first, this column warrants a DISCLAIMER: The following may be unsuitable for overly sensitive persons. Furthermore, those who are stricken with an overwhelming fear of the unknown might be gratified to learn that there are no hidden messages within this column, even when read backwards, upside down or when wearing three-dimensional eyeglasses. These are not the dreams or views of the newspaper staff, editor, manager, carriers or mice that live in the workroom.

Now, pondering my death, I imagine I’ve only seconds to live, and I’m exiting my body like a cicada molting from its old skin, leaving behind a crispy shell split down the back with a couple of hollow protruding bulges where the eyes used to be. Basically, what’s left of me looks like a massive pork rind.

My transportation is a golden-winged dragon who awaits me in the afterlife. He has been busily digging enormous holes and making a nuisance of himself in the gardens of the hereafter. This report is according to the several loved ones who have passed over and are trying to grow organic tomatoes and okra plants in heaven.

After a few minutes, the shell left behind disperses into tiny particles of dark matter that pass through the earth. The golden dragon swoops to recoup my spirit into his fiery nostrils. And in the black of night, we ascend in a gamma-ray burst to another galaxy where we pause and rejuvenate in the ash of an erupting volcano.

Golden dragon rolls in the cinders, like my cat Barry used to roll in the sand behind our house, scratching his back and then shaking off clouds of dust that float like pillows into space.

This is the time when all the questions that went unanswered are somehow understood, and all experiences longed for will be encountered by way of an “experience simulator of the mind.” Subsequently, all memory of life on earth will be expunged — all the disappointments, fear, sickness and horror will be wiped away forever.

Renewed and shining like the sun, the golden dragon and I will embark on a totally new adventure, taking flight and emitting an afterglow as we vanish into the diamond-filled universe… and all it has to offer.

If you feel you have read this column in error, please take two slices of cucumber, place one over each eye, and take a 30 minute nap. You will awaken rested and with no memory of this zany report. No dragons were harmed in the making of this anecdote.