Friday, June 4, 2010

Alternative Burials: Make You Go WTF??








I can't help it. I have an evil sense of humor, so try and stick with me as we discuss the "grave" business (pun intended) of what to do with your carcass when you're gone. Some of the alternatives had me laughing and cringing as I discovered these really weird and interesting things to do with a dead body. There is no other approach to this bizarre subject than tongue in cheek...

MEMORABLE BURIALS

MUMMIFICATION:
Summum Mummification of Transference says, “Gifted artisans design each Mummiform to exact specifications. The Mummiform and "life mask" can be designed to incorporate the symbology of any religious or philosophical belief that you may hold. Everything is created in exact accordance with your wishes, as set forth in your pre-need arrangement." The casket can then be put in the ground deep enough that the cold won’t bother your remains or triple casketed. The price, you ask? The current costs for Mummification services are $67,000* within the continental United States." (Personally, I'll only do this if my servants are buried with me).

VIKING FUNERAL: Of course, I’m frustrated that Viking funerals are outside the law. One woman wrote online asking about them since her husband wanted one. I laughed for a good 15 minutes when I read one person’s response in the chatroom, “you mean put in a raft and set afire? I think that can be done…” (somehow I envision this dude with a canister of kerosene and one of those Bic fireplace lighters waiting at the edge of a lake with a Walmart pool raft exchanging some crisp bills to “do the deed” while he downs a Budweiser).

GREEN FUNERAL: The rage nowadays and actually not a bad idea. Nixing the embalming and burying in bamboo and cardboard in a green hillside where the only markers are trees or bushes and no one would guess it’s a cemetery. (I just have one word for these places, "Poltergeist." I do recall a wonderful gem of a movie based on the idea of a subdivision being built where a cemetery was. Some Superstore is going to eye that plot of land and no one's going to remember it was a cemetery. What an excavation that'll be!)

FAMILY BURIAL: No, not burying your family with you! I wrote about this recently and it’s a creepy and not often talked about thing most often in rural areas (God, I hope so!) Folks are opting to design their own casket with their family members working on the artwork and having a solemn, quiet, peaceful send off with just the loved ones on a happy corner of the yard. You know, that place the family dog likes to bury his bones. (It's going to be Christmas for him every day!)

SPACE: Yeah, it’s the final frontier, but for some folks it’s the final resting place. I had to wonder (and thankfully the site for Celestis tells us) if we become space debris that falls to earth, because it would seriously suck if I were launched and then came back to kill my offspring. What really happens is not that you necessarily go into deep space and land on some happy planet and are revived like Spock in “Star Trek: Wrath of Khan.” This involves being in a rocket that orbits the earth until it finally fails and burns on reentry into a blazing glory. (Well, I don’t know about you, but I think that’s one fucking expensive and delayed cremation plan. You'd save money catapulting your urn into the night sky and hiring fireworks to be launched simultaneously.)

CRYOGENICS: Have your head lopped off and frozen indefinitely. Of course, that ain’t gonna get you a new body to attach to later on. (nor will it guarantee that in 2090, someone isn't going to throw the breakers on the old building before teardown and let you spoil...)

WAYS TO USE YOUR BODY AFTER DEATH:

ART: What if I want to donate my body to something worthy or even beautiful? Body Worlds (photo above) is a traveling show with real human displays. Your body fluids are replaced with a hardening polymer. (Jeez, aren't actresses in Hollywood already into this craze while alive?) Believe it or not, the waiting list is long, 6500 people wanting to donate themselves. (I think I'm a "piece of work," but not necessarily a "work of art." Besides, as much of an exhibitionist as I am, I don't see myself wanting to display my innerds, just my outards...)

RESEARCH: Donate your body through a local university. There’s no telling if you’re going to be used to understand disease or as a practical dissect for incoming med students, but you will be helping someone learn something and if you never did that in your lifetime, this may be your chance. (However, there's no telling what affectionate name the students will give you, so if that produces chills just thinking about it, move down the list to the next one...)

ORGANS: As well, you can donate your organs and honestly really should! My brother donated his organs and a woman in Greece was able to see again! Another person underwent heart valve surgery and survived. I am on the list and hope to keep myself healthy throughout life so they can still be salvageable when I'm say, 110 and decide to finally let go of them!

REEF: You couldn’t live underwater while alive, but when you die, you can join the building of a reef for sea life. At Great Burial Reef they turn you into a part of the reef (photo above): "Living ocean reef burials are performed individually and privately. After a brief dedication ceremony, the sealed burial reef is carefully lowered to the ocean floor by our crew. The precise GPS coordinates of the burial reef are recorded and provided to the family on a Certificate of Living Ocean Reef Burial." I actually really dig this idea—might consider it, (but if your family was a bunch of leaches, you might just be sick of others living off you, so perhaps not an ideal resting spot).

No matter how they discard of your carcass, what really matters is what you do while you’re here. No one will remember you for your send-off unless they were joyously awaiting it (in which case you need to work on your social skills).

It truly does come down to ashes to ashes, dust to dust (well, unless you go mummy and then that's more like plump to dehydrated...)

**Check out Julie's new post at "Above the Norm" at the strange and sometimes perverted names of AZ places!

18 comments:

  1. One traditional method that I've always thought interesting is "air burial." This is unfortunately going the way of the dodo, but still environmentally friendly. It's practiced by various religious groups in the Middle East and a few deserts.

    Basically, you're left out somewhere where the vultures can get you, but the traditional vultures are in decline apparently thanks to our diet. It's made them sick to the point of extinction.

    Kind of makes me wonder if even a green burial would work if we make the natural world sick even in death. (funny how I can make a subject like dying even more depressing, eh?)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Candace;
    You know, here in Arizona there is actually and old mummified cowboy that was found out in the desert. He's been on display in various places, but makes me think about it often. Here we have lots of turkey vultures. If someone were to leave you in the desert, you'd be picked clean fast, but yeah the vultures could carry disease, so perhaps not the cleanest method. If I had the option to be mummified and left in a protected cave, I'd totally go with that. Hey, there'd be enough DNA to maybe recreate the craziness that was me maybe centuries later.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would totally love some sort of burial resulting in my corpse getting consumed by the natural process (including scavengers, insects and the like).

    If anyone hasn't checked out Mary Roach's book "Stiff", it's an interesting and entertaining look at cadavers. Really.

    http://www.amazon.com/Stiff-Curious-Lives-Human-Cadavers/dp/0393050939

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pangs;
    I would seriously love to sort through your reading library--you are an interesting gem!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gives new meaning to the phrase "Beam me up, Scotty!"

    I wouldn't mind being reefed. (I'm sure there's also a reifer joke in their somewhere...I just can't pull it out...)

    FUN post!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mary Roach is an interesting character all around. In addition to Stiff, she has Bonk (sex) and Spook (ghosts). It makes me wonder what's next in the series! Maybe Aaaaaaaa! (for aliens?) lol

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wonderful post! I always wanted a small pyramid of some kind, but a Viking funeral will do in a pinch.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jessica;
    I only want the pyramid if gorgeous muscular sweaty laborers build it for me while I watch... (okay that fantasy is over, more than likely it'll end up being some sweaty dude shoving me into an oven for cremation while he eats a ham sandwich)...

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am already an organ donor, so I might as well be cremated. The only problem is I don't know where my ashes should be scattered. Gary and I have a plot together, so I will probably end up in the ground for eternity.

    I heard today that KEZ's Bill Austin wants to be cremated and have his ashes scattered on Maureen Barkley's wet body, lol. He definitely had a thing for her. Beth is trying to work out something with Maureen but not sure what they will do. I wonder what Charles Barkley thinks of this, lol? I was sad by his passing this Wednesday. I listened to him and Beth for 20 years doing their morning radio show.

    Thanks for linking my post about weird names of some Arizona's towns and creeks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Julie;
    Yeah, he was a wonderful fixture here in The Valley. There are certain people here who have just had a huge influence, like Wallace and Ladmo, Margaret Hance, Barry Goldwater and Bill. I just liked that he made everything light and fun--that's my motto.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am a complete moron. I didn't realize you had a button...And here you've been sporting mine for quite some time. What a jerk I am!

    Well, your button us up now!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hey Dr. Heckle;
    You can wear my button anywhere you want, but I prefer on your blog (hee hee)

    ReplyDelete
  13. You know I loved this one! I had watched something awhile back about the Reef one....don't remember where tho! Don't you want a Viking Funeral? I personally want to be burned, but haven't figured where to scatter the ashes at! I was thinking in the Pacific off Hawaii! Love me some Hawaii! Have a good weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Brian;
    I agree--my first choice is a viking funeral, but I know that ain't gonna happen, so I'm cool with organs donated, body burned, and ashes are to be given half to my son to do what he wants and the other half dispersed to friends and family who are close to me in little vials and they can keep them or put them somewhere they think was important to me or important to our friendship--something symbolic. I had a friend who off'd himself and his friends took his ashes to Sedona to a medicine wheel in one of the vortexes and dispersed them there. Really magical. Hey, Hawaii is not a bad choice at all! I love that place. Great memories of lying on beaches and drinking lots of Blue Hawaii drinks and getting super drunk on mai tai's in a pontoon boat... Wahoo!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm surprised the ashes-into-jewelry wasn't an option. I know there are companies that do it for pet owners. Seems odd to wear a piece of jewelry made out of dead people but someone might be in to that I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Andrea;
    Yeah, they do have that option. In fact, I'm having half my ashes put into little urn vials that hang on necklace chains for my most beloved friends and relatives, but I did read people can even have their ashes turned into sculpture and such. Just my luck, it'd be such a bad piece of art, relatives would trade it at garage sales 50 years later!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Dear dear Candace what you are referring to is SKY BURIAL certainly NOT practiced anywhere in the Islamic, Christian or Sufi Middle East but a Tantric BUDDHIST practice exclusive only in the Himalaya's old TIBET, NEPAL and BHUTAN. Outlawed by the Chinese after their bloody occupation in 1949.
    Yes it is definitely illegal in the US because the Green Cemetery I worked in in 2004 looked into offering it.
    The physical body is sacredly and ceremonially carved by Buddhist monks in a ceremonial meditation practice of offering the body to the vultures in a practice of Love and giving (Buddha's first teaching in the 6 Perfections:
    Giving , Moral Discipline, Patience, Effort, Comncentration and Wisdom.
    The KINKARA are the holy deities that oversee the Charnl Grounds.
    Please visit our website:
    www.kinkaraco.com

    A pioneer Green Burial company since 2005 . Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear dear Candace what you are referring to is SKY BURIAL certainly NOT practiced anywhere in the Islamic, Christian or Sufi Middle East but an ancient Tantric BUDDHIST practice exclusive only in the Himalaya's old TIBET, NEPAL and BHUTAN. Outlawed by the Chinese after their bloody occupation in 1949.
    Yes it is definately illegal in the US because the Green Cemetery I worked in in 2004 looked into offering it.
    The physical body is sacredly and ceremonially carved by Buddhist monks in a ceremonial meditation practice of offering the body to the vultures in a practice of Love and giving (Buddha's first teaching in the 6 Perfections:
    Giving , Moral Discipline, Patience, Effort, Comncentration and Wisdom.
    The KINKARA are the holy deities that oversee the Charnl Grounds.
    Please visit our website:
    www.kinkaraco.com

    A pioneer Green Burial company since 2005 . Thank you

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...