Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dinner With Dead People

Dinner With Dead People

What would you do if you were having dinner with new friends and you found out, while masticating mostaciolli or marinated chicken, that the ashes of their recently and dearly departed were in a cabinet, just over your head? Like turnips in Tupperware.

Would you keep the remains of a loved one in your closet or in your kitchen cupboard?

Yikes.Get this. In one of the recent parks we stayed in, while traveling, we had gay neighbors. Two guys. We were in a private section together, so there was just the four of us.
We were making lunch on the grill and decided to ask the guys to join us for lunch. They seemed very nice & we had similar interests and shared a few laughs. So, a few nights later they invited us to their place for dinner.

Sure, what the heck. So we went and we had a lot of laughs with them. One of them kept saying he didn't know what God had in store for him, and we later found out he's a friend of Bill's.
Bill W.
So that answered the that question.

Anyway, we were enjoying the afternoon when the topic turned to cremation. I had just read extensively on the subject and had some fun tidbits to share over peas & pasta.
I forget how the conversation went, but it went something like: blah blah blah, blah blah blah: cremation.

So, one of the guys says: I cremated my first lover. And the other one says, I had my mother in law cremated and two cats.

And then they tell us the cremated remains of the above mentioned four, are in the cupboard, directly over Tony's head. My eyes glance to the right, sideways and up.


Do you think that's strange?

Oh no, there's nothing wrong with having your dead Aunt Jimmy's ashes in your kitchen cabinets. It might be nice to have her arm pit hair and toe nail clippings in a separate jar, right next to a jar of her used tampons and rolling pins.
It might even be nice to have a collection of her old sneakers, used panties and bras kept in a mayonnaise jar. Providing it was Hellman's of course.

Except, they go on to say, they only have half of the lover's ashes. Someone else has the other half. They haven't decided whether to spread the ashes someplace, or keep them forever in their motor home. My eyes nearly popped out of my head, and my first inclination was: Gee I'm glad we'll be leaving here in a day or two.

So I look at the cremator and say: Did you know that during the cremation process, some bone fragments from the prior burn-e remain in the retort, and when they are gathered you end up with more than just your loved one?

You actually end up with the partial remains of others. Or, what have you.

Of course, he argued with me. "Oh no, our state specifically says by law that only one person can be cremated at a time."

Whatever. While that is partially true in America, the fact remains that other remains are in fact, mixed-in. There's no way around it.
I found a lot of interesting information about cremation. Did you know the vital organs convert into a gas and disintegrate in the inferno and only the bone fragments remain?

One can envision the brain going up the chimney: Poof! in a puff of smoke. Different bodies take different lengths of time to burn. The time can be anywhere from one to two hours. Unless of course you're really fat, tall or big-boned. Then it might take longer. Ka-ching, ka-ching, let the cash register ring. Temps vary from seventeen-hundred to twenty-one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Recent laws insist that new incinerators have a way to open the door once the door has been locked and the process started, from the

Sometimes there might be lump of gold that was missed or some oddity which might be found post burn. Unless of course there was theft involved. I'm certain that's happened more than once. Pacemakers have to be removed prior to burning so they don't explode and cause damage to the brick, and batteries from pacemakers can emit noxious fumes into the atmosphere. Hip replacements and various bits of titanium are generally removed as they don't burn. And, you can sell your loved ones gold teeth or jewelry or have it turned into a work of art. Some people take the ash and add it to paint and have a work of art created from and of the decedent. Lovely. Unless the artist isn't very good at portraits. Still. It's an idea. And when it comes to spending money, selecting urns and other creative ideas, the sky's the limit.

After the body is burned, the bone fragments are then pulverized in a machine called a cremulator which takes about twenty minutes. I thought that was a funny name: cremulator. Don't you? It sounds like something Lucy make up & say to Ethel. You basically end up with four to six pounds of "ash" which is actually pulverized bone fragment. Dust? Some people keep a bit of "ash" in a piece of jewelry, chained fashionably around their neck. Different countries have different regulations & restrictions on cremation and in some places, cremation is outlawed.

Some of the more-fun, post crematory celebrations are sending your loved one into the heavens via a helium balloon or through fireworks. You can have your cousin Sammy shot from shotgun shells, or scattered from an airplane. One service sends a lipstick-tube sized sample of the cremated remains into low earth orbit, where they remain for years (but not permanently) before re-entering the atmosphere of the earth.

I was reading on various sales pitches offered by, "caring and compassionate sea-burial businesses" that offer comfort in knowing that, "As you commit your loved one to the sea you are sending them on an everlasting journey. Your loved one will ride on the ocean current and travel the world. All of the Earths oceans connect, ensuring your loved one will always be near as the ocean tides rise and fall".

Or, if your loved one was someone of notoriety, you might consider an auction on e-Bay. Why not make money at it, if you can?

Of course, rates vary depending upon the size of your loved one. Over-sized rates may apply.

do you want your loved one to ride the ocean on a weekday, or are you going to pay one-third more to have them dumped overboard
on a weekend? Would you like them dumped at sunrise or sunset? -Call for custom rates and speak to one of our caring and compassionate sales associates.

Would you like to attend the dump for twice the price, or will you be trusting them to dump Uncle Naybob overboard without actually witnessing: the dump? Will there be champagne & festivities, or will your friends just be watching from shore during a private party? What wine should you serve with Aunt Edna, red or white?
Would you like a religious leader aboard, or will you be utilizing the services of our captain? He's licensed you know. A really nice burial at sea will cost between three and four thousand in addition to the crematory prices. I'm certain the prices go up nicely from there.

You don't want your daddy's body burned in cardboard, do you? Don't you think a nice pine box would be more suited for d a d d y, or ash? Mahogany or walnut might be nice.

Um, no, we'll just take corrugated, thank you.

A friend of mine told me that when her grandmother died, the funeral home called her repeatedly trying to get her to "come down" and select the service & pricing that suited her wishes.

My friend told the funeral home she hated her grandmother's guts and she couldn't be bothered and that the funeral home wasn't going to get one cent out of her. She said they called her several times a day and she kept hanging up on them so they left messages on her answering machine. A while passed and they called her again and she accidentally picked up the phone, to which she replied: You can throw her nasty ass in a dumpster behind K-Mart for all I care.

She never did pay a penny for whatever happened to her un-loved grandmother.
I thought that was very economical for her.

I like that idea. I think that's how I want to go. Or, at least, that is how my partner is going to go. I'm like that. Cost efficient.

On second thought, I want a royal departure with gold, pomp & circumstance, champagne, caviar and all that kind of stuff, for me.
It beats embalming fluid and other noxious chemicals and a lifetime of oozing.

The worms crawl in,
the worms crawl out.
The worms play pinochle
on your snout.

What's in your closet?

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