Morbid Affairs

Riding Hard

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Recently a telemarketer phoned to discuss what he called my “end of life options”. Subsequently, I have left very specific instructions for my wife. I don’t want a funeral, memorial service, an obituary, or any suggestion as to where you should donate your money. Frankly, I find funerals to be morbid affairs and I try not to go to them. They either turn out to be uncomfortable family reunions or pageants to enrich the mortician where people stand up and lie about you.

I’ve made it a point to never look at a cadaver in an open casket ever since I was a small tyke and saw my great-grandfather in one. I still have nightmares about it. Everyone said how great he looked. “Didn’t the mortician do a wonderful job?” they asked. Everyone commented about how peaceful he looked but who were they kidding? The old geezer looked deader than a tuna sandwich and I’ve never looked at a dead person in a casket since that day.

There are several reasons I don’t want a funeral but chief amongst them are I won’t be there to smell the flowers or hear the beautiful songs and all the lies someone says about me. And quite frankly I’m a little worried about the turnout. I don’t know who said it first but it’s not very comforting to know that the main thing that will decide the size of your funeral is the weather. Having a funeral would be a big gamble for me and I worry that the only four people present would be me, my wife, the padre and some guy impatiently waiting on a backhoe just hoping it’s a short service and he can get the hole filled and knock off a little early. I suppose I could hire professional mourners but that’s a little like going to everyone else’s funeral while you’re alive hoping they will reciprocate and come to yours. Think about that logic for a second. It ain’t gonna happen!

I read about one option that interested me at first. When some rich guy back east died he requested that all his assets be divided equally amongst those who came to his funeral but I don’t think that would work the way I wanted because many people would show up just to make sure I was dead. I certainly don’t want them inheriting any of my money. I liked what a tribe of Indians and Egyptian Pharaohs did when they were buried with all their possessions. Who says you can’t take it all with you?

A traditional burial wouldn’t be very green of me. Did you know that every year we bury 64,000 tons of steel, four million gallons of embalming fluid and 1.6 million tons of concrete in cemeteries? Not to mention all the new suits that are purchased and worn only once.

I briefly considered cremation but ever since I was seven and had my bed burn up beneath me when my electric blanket caught on fire I have been deathly afraid of flames. So why would I want my body to be cooked at 2,000 degrees for two hours? Besides, think of all pollution caused when the flames torched this old bag of BS.

There is also the option of being buried at sea but while I’ve always loved looking at the ocean, I’ve never really liked being IN the ocean. The one time I went on a charter fishing boat I discovered that they don’t bring those big old boats back to shore just because some wimp is barfing his brains out over the starboard side.

Considering the cost of a funeral I think I’ve finally come up with a cheap alternative. I call it a “cowboy funeral”. I want a friend to dig a deep hole in some out-of-the-way place and another cowboy friend to throw my body into it. Initially I wanted to be shrouded in one of my favorite woolen Pendleton blankets but then I considered where I might be headed and decided I’d already be warm enough. Plus, why ruin a nice blanket?

I’m sure being buried like this is against some law but hey, I’m the one who did it and deserve any punishment that’s due. If the bureaucrats don’t like it they are welcome to come and get me.

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