Some day, my dear outsiders, you may have to pay your respects to Dearborn’s deceased. Dearborners are very dutiful in paying respects. Some can be so dutiful that it becomes a regular part of their Sunday afternoons. But it’s inspiring to see that this community has held on to that basic tenet of mutual respect.
But every culture has its ways. And as with many other things, Dearborn blends its customs from “back home” with new evolved customs from America. And what you end up with is a dicey hodge-podge of a lazy-looking hardass with a North Face jacket and Timberlands driving a car five times beyond his affordability blasting latmiyyah or Fares Karam and chewing lots of gum to cover up the garlic breath of his chicken tawook from Tuhamas.
So, outsiders. Know the rules when you stop into town to show your respects. Here are the basic ones.
Show Up Late This is a cardinal rule in Dearborn. As always, abide by the laws of Arabic Time. You don’t show up on time, and you don’t show up early. For more information, please consult “The Hour Scoop: A Breakdown Of Dearborn’s ‘Arabic Time’”.
Learn the Fatiha Translated as “The Opening”, it is the first chapter of the Holy Quran. Brief and comprehensive, it is a short prayer recited on behalf of the deceased. Know it well. You’ll be reading it at least twenty times, literally.
But if you don’t know the Fatiha, fake it by doing the following:
1. Slightly raise both hands, palms up.
2. Whisper to yourself briskly for eight to ten seconds.
3. Smear both palms simultaneously across your face in a downward motion.
4. Look at the floor.
Wear Jeans Dearborn funerals are notorious for their informality. As long as it’s black or dark, you can wear almost anything. Sneakers, hats, boots, tees…and even jeans. So lose the suit and tie, weirdo!
Interrupt the Speaker It seems that there is never a better time to approach the casket, recite your prayers, and pay your condolences to the family, than when the clergy is speaking. Forget the previous countless hours that were designated for such things, no. THIS. THIS is the right time to do it. Don’t mind the speaker, he’s just absolving us of our sins, imparting some wisdom, and trying to do his job. He doesn’t mind.
Grieve Excessively The Italians and the Greeks do it too, so I won’t pin it exclusively on the Arabs. But as a general rule of thumb, the louder and more expressive you are in your grieving, the more you loved the dude in the box. So scream, shout, throw your hands in the air, and sob uncontrollably. You won’t be alone.