So you’ve completed your academic education. You’ve earned your degree! And what now… Why not be a professional mourner? It’s not hard. All you need to be able to do is turn on the waterworks and convince everyone else you are beside yourself with grief now that this excellent person has departed the mortal coil.
Professional mourning has a distinguished history and is practiced all over the world. In Britain, according to John Walsh in a well-respected newspaper (associated with The Independent), witchy women attended funerals of strangers to “wail over the body in an open coffin.” This happened routinely when Walsh’s Irish forbears on the Atlantic coast signed them up to perform this important and edifying task. These ladies were known as “keeners.” Sometimes, the distraught widow would comfort herself with a small dram of tipple well away from the mad cacophony.