Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Postmortem Options

What are your plans for when you’re dead? Are you a traditionalist? You know, the whole embalmed, casket, vault or mausoleum bit. Cremation perhaps? How about some alternatives?

I heard a report on the radio in the wee hours of the morning about how cemeteries are now going green. No embalming, no vaults, biodegradable coffins, headstones of indigenous stone only, landscaping that is designed to slowly revert back to nature. Not a bad idea. For more info, click on the banner.

But let’s take it a step beyond the norm. Many cultures have funeral pyres. Kind of average, right? Let’s add a twist. Instead of letting me be dispersed by the elements, let’s collect up the ashes and hold a raffle. I’ll even sell the tickets myself. Now, of course. For a lot of money. Hey, who wouldn’t want me taking up residence on the mantel after I’m dead and incinerated? I’m sure the demand will be tremendous but before you start scrambling to get your ticket, I should tell you that I plan on living a very long time. Unless you want my ashes scattered on your grave then you better do so too.

I know a woman who has always said that if she dies first she wants to be stuffed and mounted on roller skates, kind of like an overgrown pull toy for her husband. She figures that way he can continue to take her with him everywhere he goes. I’m not sure if she’s lined up the taxidermist yet or not.

What if you are destitute when you die? You wouldn’t want to be a burden to anyone. I’m sure we could find a less than scrupulous soup kitchen out there somewhere. Or if the idea of that doesn’t suit, even though you’d be performing the ultimate in community service, how about going on one last deep sea fishing expedition…with you as the chum?

No? Okay, here’s an idea for those of you who prefer to leave more of a mark. If you live in an arid region and die before me I could mummify you. I’ll need you to select a location off the beaten path location where I can then tuck you away for safe keeping. Imagine the speculation you’ll cause in a few hundred years when you’re finally discovered.

Of course there is one traditional method I skipped. You could donate your organs to those in need and the rest of you to a med school. Admirable but I doubt my parts will be of much good by the time I cash in and personally, I’d prefer to become part of a forensic anthropology program. Yes, there really are schools that accept donations of corpses just for the purpose of sticking them out in the elements to be salvaged and studied at a later date. I saw an article about it back when Kathy Reichs first started writing. I couldn’t resist showing it my mother and announcing that that’s what I’m going to do. Will I really? It all depends on the number of raffle tickets I sell.

Tour de France Update -
Winner Stage 5, July 9 - Cavendish - Great Britain
Overall Leader - Schumacher - Germany


Neeley said...

You obviously need to read more about this. Check out Stiff: The Curious Life of the Human Cadaver, and while you're at it, pick up Bonk from my mom! That's the sex research book. Both by Mary Roach, both incredibly funny, well-written, and educational.

I don't think I'd mind being a modern mummy - but think of all the poor med students you'll be depriving of gross lab if you don't donate!

Amarinda Jones said...

I have the organ donor card so they can have what they want when I die. I expect the liver will be shot by then but the rest is up for grabs. As for what happens to my body...I'll be dead so I don't believe I will care that much. It's just a shell anyway.

Sandra Cox said...

My husband was listed as a donor until he heard skin was often used to enhance male body parts:)
I'm listed as a donor but I also noted I want two doctors to declare me legally dead. I'm afraid someone might get overly zealous and pull the plug too soon:)
I must admit I wouldn't have thought of this topic for a blog:)Only you, Barbara:)

Mona Risk said...

I'm listed as a organ donor. I want to be useful to someone if possible. If I'm dead then my body is dead and I wouldn't care about it. But I hope that my soul would be in a happy place.

Kelly Kirch said...

I love the idea of decomposing myself for study. Much better than being used as a cadaver for future doctors. Hey, I know I look great naked, but I have no interest in laying around naked without getting any joy from it.

Anny Cook said...

If enough of us got together for the decomposition option, they could have a romance writers section just for us... I think they have one down at the FBI training camp. Just think... our names would go on and on and on... I can see some guys checking out our books long after we're gone.

Amarinda Jones said...

Anny? Count me out of the decomp option please. I don't want to be dead and looking down...I mean up...and thinking what is my body doing there?

barbara huffert said...

Ooh Anny, I like that idea. Come on AJ, join us! Kelly can teach us to be ghosts and we can play pranks on the students poking at our shells.

Sandra, I think I'll take that as a compliment. Thank you.

Mona, if you don't care then you should let someone do something fun with you. Your soul will be happy and so will those you leave behind.

Amarinda Jones said...

I plan on being a ghost but not rotting en masse

Just came back to tell you Caddell Evans is not 2nd...see? I know sport