Little is known of Jesse Green, except his flirtation with snarky remarks and aloofness to female cosmetics. Perhaps that’s why he laughs in the name of suicide and homicide, at least, not face to face with the victim’s corpse. Unlike most people, he understands the trivial side to a horrific incident. That it is why he addresses the topic of death and the big what happens next question that is buried deep in the minds of his readers’ after reading his collection I’m Dead, So What Else is New.
The collection gives a wide spectrum of doomsday literature to a mockery of the dead. Dead before Christmas, the first of the collection, tells of an Uncles nephew passing away on Christmas Eve. Uncle Roger does magic tricks for the kids every year but this year no one is particularly interested, until the very end. Jesse’s use of humor in light of a family loss brings about an odd, yet realistic perspective on death. People grieve differently, whereas Jesse’s main character in Dead before Christmas turns a person’s death into something as insignificant as a magic trick.
Life Insurance, a story of a vampire who wishes to obtain his life insurance, is similar in meaning to Dead before Christmas but not in prose. Jesse’s tone is more so humorous than it is dark. The sarcastic and snarky voice that is read throughout much of the piece hints that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Even small details such as John, as a vampire, drinks orange juice, hints that not all good things come to an end. Death, as Jesse suggests, doesn’t mean you stop living.
In his other pieces, Our Five Step Program to being a Cannibal and I Hung them by my Shoelaces Jesse challenges the perceptions of death and how humans cope with loss. These pieces read like a how-to-guide on craving human flesh and committing homicide after your girlfriend breaks up with you. Both stories illustrate Jesse’s dark humor and give a comical appeal to the characters.
For example, when main character Ryan in Our Five Step Program to Being a Cannibal describes the transformation from human to Predator, a cynical and yet playful voice can be heard:
To start off small, eat someone’s baby. Preferably a sixteen year-old girls baby. Now newbies might be squeamish at first, but don’t worry, the mother will thank you for it. Be sure to make a bloody mess for the boyfriend to see too, let him know what he’s missing.
Ultimately, Jessie’s choice to use sarcasm and humor interchangeably throughout his collection I’m Dead, So What Else is New, allows for a more positive interpretation of human expiration. In short, his odd characters, snarky tone of voice and minimal subtext leave the reader with the idea that in spite of someone’s death, there’s always a positive.