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Opening Arguments

Still dead

Well, this is one of the creepiest things I've read lately:

ATLANTA - The future of pro wrestler Chris Benoit's millions could come down to the timing of a horrible crime: Did Benoit — having taken high doses of steroids — strangle his wife and then their young son before killing himself, or did the boy die first?

Lawyers for Benoit's mother-in-law, Maureen Toffoloni, filed a petition last week asking a court to determine the order of the deaths, which could affect whether she gets any of the estate.

Neither Benoit nor his wife left a will, so the death order could mean the difference in whether Toffoloni or Benoit's children from a previous marriage inherit the two homes, several bank and investment accounts and other assets estimated to be worth millions. Lawyers in the case declined Wednesday to provide an exact value.

Not many of us ponder what happens to the world we leave behind when we die. I was forced to think about that a few years ago when I was visiting my mom and sister in Indianapolis. There was an ad on TV about pre-planning funerals, and my mom casually mentioned that she had two small insurance policies that, added together, should take of her burial expenses. That made me start thinking about the people who will be left behind when I go. What do I think about them? What I finally decided was, "Forget them" (although I was really thinking about a different word).

They'll be grieving and missing me. I'll be dead. They'll discover I didn't think too far ahead and be peeved with me for leaving all those loose ends to tie up. I'll still be dead. They'll get through all that and move on, the memory of me getting dimmer, and I'll still be dead.

Several years after the death of my father, I started thinking about all the things he'd  been missing -- laptops, cell phones, the hi-def TV that would have made the wrestling matches he loved so much more exciting -- and got sad for him all over again. When I think about my own mortality, that's the one thing that annoys the most, the simple fact I will be missing all the wonderful things that will be discovered or invented after I'm gone.

Benoit's mother-in-law? Forget her big time.