Saturday, June 18, 2022



"I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it'll say ‘Holden Caulfield’ on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it'll say ‘Fuck you.’ I'm positive, in fact."

J D Salinger, Catcher in the Rye


From an article yesterday in The Daily Mail at:

A grave mistake?

An Iowa family has caused a serious controversy after hiding a rude phrase on their late father's gravestone - sparking outrage among cemetery staff who insist the cheeky message is offensive and has no place 'where loved ones are laid to rest'.

After Steven Owens passed away on September 2, 2021, at the age of 59, his family banded together to come up with an idea to forever immortalize his wicked sense of humour and straight-talking personality.

Steven Owen

So, they came up with a way of hiding Owens' favourite 'term of endearment' on his gravestone, creating a sweet tribute to the late father-of-two:

At first glance, the gravestone at Warren-Powers Cemetery in Polk County reads much like many of the other sentimental tributes inscribed on the monuments around it:

Forever in our hearts
Until we meet again
Cherished memories
Known as

Our son, brother
Father, papa, uncle
Friend & cousin.

However, upon closer inspection, the first letter of each line on the headstone spells out Owens' beloved insult, which his daughter Lindsay insists he only ever used as a 'term of endearment'.

The board in charge at the cemetery is against the headstone, stating in a release: 'How would you like to have your spouse, child, mother, father, grandparent, uncle or cousin, your loved one or eventually you, have to be laid rest next to that for eternity?’ According to the board, the family were told it would not be allowed but chose install the gravestone anyway.

Owens’ son Zach replied 'No one’s forcing anyone to come out and look at it, that’s a choice that you make. We didn’t do it to offend anyone, make anyone mad or hurt anyone’s feelings. We did it because it was our father, and we love him, and that’s how we remember him.'

Reader comments to the article:

Absolutely love it! I get that humour, I find it hilarious. MOST importantly, the guy would have loved that! Staff need to mind their own business and go about their day.

Wow, now the undertakers are Woke also? I don't think many would notice the slogan, unless it was pointed out to them. Personally I love it.

Not exactly hidden, but it's not against any law

The staff need to get a grip and do their jobs.

Others do not need to stop and read the man's gravestone if they are there to visit others. People are so easily offended these days it's actually embarrassing.

Absolutely love this. So many people have a wicked sense of humour. Death does not change it. I'm sure your dad would be laughing

That's been done before... years ago.
(See following item, Otto)

Tacky and disrespectful to others visiting loved ones graves.

It reflects the person who died. Not visitors

A hidden message? It is so well hidden a blind man could see it lol




Very inappropriate in a public place, where people go to respectfully grieve .

Tacky, tasteless, trash!

A Cemetery is not a privately owned place.



In years to come it might make a stranger smile. If it offends others, it sounds like this chap didn't give a flying #*#* anyway. Nice touch by the people who knew him best.

Humor? It's humour.

It's humor in the USA where this story is based. We all know the Americans have weird spellings.

You would have to stand there and read it to work it out --when I did it made me smile nothing else overreaction i think


Love it!!

This is a good example of creative well managed swearing- anyone offended , will I'm sure, follow the advice !!

Inappropriate, disgusting, lacking all decency ...

I presume you are talking about the idiots that want it removed.

I agree, that's exactly what I think off anyone that gets offended by a lighthearted joke that doesn't actually affect or offend anyone!!!

Wonder what would be on a similar gravestone for a Man of Kent?

People who are offended can follow the advice of the message.

So they find this offensive but mass school shootings are ok? Only in America.

You can't read a book these days without it being littered with the F word and the majority of the younger generation use it when speaking like it's an every day word. How times have changed.

Karens everywhere!!

Everyone on this planet has used this phrase even the pope

I haven't! I absolutely hate the F word and I hate the way people think it's an acceptable word.

A child would never pick up on this unless it was pointed out to them!

I wouldn't even have noticed had it not been pointed out.

I'm not offended but then again I don't go through life looking to be offended unlike the snowflakes who appear to be permanently offended by something or someone. Get a life you lot !!!!

Humour has died, RIP

Sounds like a classy family - not!

The other 'residents' are hardly likely to be offended by it.

An expression used like god bless you these days what's the harm

A precedent:

As one reader above commented, it has been done before.

John Laird McCaffery is buried in Montreal.

His epitaph reads:


Free your body and soul
Unfold your powerful wings
Climb up the highest mountains
Kick your feet up in the air
You may now live forever
Or return to this earth
Unless you feel good where you are

Missed by your friends

The cemetery has strict rules on what is, and what is not, allowed on tombstones, hence the true message hidden in the epitaph. It can be found by reading down the first letter of each line.

Kristian Gravenor of the Montreal Mirror spoke with the stonemason who made the headstone, keeping the stonemason’s name confidential. The stonemason said that the message occurred to him only after he had finished:

“Afterwards, as I’m done, I’m looking at it and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ I noticed it just like that. This guy’s ex-wife and mistress came in together and ordered the stone. They said the message represented him. It was a thing between the three of them.”

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