By Margot Mifflin
Updated August 05, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Beginning with Ozzie Santee’s 1953 high school graduation and ending a year later, when his chance at marriage and job security is deferred, Rick DeMarinis’ The Mortician’s Apprentice is a mordantly funny coming-of-age story. A directionless no-goodnik with enough sense to resist the straight and narrow, Ozzie sets out in life with a single career prospect — as an apprentice to his girlfriend’s father, who tends to people awaiting ”their final grooming.” Eye pins and waste pumps don’t faze Ozzie, but the sameness of suburban life does. Set in the Eisenhower era to the strains of Charlie Ventura and Miles Davis, The Mortician’s Apprentice is full of wily characters, juicy conflict, and salty cynicism. A