An Alabama man had the rare chance to read his own obituary over the weekend when his local paper mistakenly reported that he had died.
James Maze, 66, was alive and well when his landline and cell phone started ringing off the hook on Saturday with concerned friends calling after seeing his picture and obituary in the local paper.
'It was a good friend of mine who said "Are you alright? I said "Sure I'm alright!"' Mr Maze told MailOnline.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO
The next call was from his wife who was at work and had received an angry call from a friend who was mad that they hadn't been told of her husband's passing.
‘I said I need to go get a paper and see what this is all about,’ Mr Maze said.
As he made his way to the front of his Guntersville, Alabama house to pick up the latest issue of The Advertiser-Gleam, he was met by another friend who had driven over to his house to see if the story was true.
The confusion began when the editor of the county-wide paper received a death notice for a 77-year-old James L. Maze of Arab, Alabama from a funeral home.
‘I got a good surprise, that’s for sure,’ Mr Maze told MailOnline.
One of the paper’s editors, Sam Harvey, was friends with the living, breathing 66-year-old James E. Maze who was born and raised in Arab, so rather than simply letting his friend’s death notice run with the names of his survivors and funeral arrangements, Mr Harvey added detail about his storied career in local government and law enforcement.
‘He’s been apologizing all week,’ Mr Maze said of Mr Harvey.
‘He knew me so he was going to give me a better write up than just the generic announcement.’
That initiative added to the problem, since the obituary went through the living Mr Maze’s 28-year career in law enforcement, his two-terms as a county commissioner and prominently featured his picture.
What didn’t match were the names of the ‘deceased’s’ parents and children, the names of which matched that of the 77-year-old Mr Maze who has died.
The mix up was not the most outlandish situation as there are several James Mazes in the county given their family’s long roots in the area.
The James E. Maze who was pictured told MailOnline that he is ‘distant, distant, distant, distant cousins’ with the deceased James L. Maze.
‘I know him (but) I’m not that close,’ Mr Maze said of the gentleman who died.
A retraction will be published in Wednesday’s issue of The Advertiser-Gleam and Mr Maze had one specific item that he wants included: his wife Becky.
Because her name was not listed as a survivor in the incorrect obituary, ‘everyone in the county’s gone thinking that we’re divorced!’
Mr Maze said that with the exception of the obvious mistakes- like the fact that he is alive and that the names of his relatives were incorrect- he would have been happy with the obituary that was used, should his time come.
‘My pastor in church talked about it in front of 300 people, saying “There aren’t many people who get to see their own obituary,”’ Mr Maze said.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE