The three certainties we face in life: (1) taxes; (2) concrete will crack; and (3) death. I am sure that it was true for all of you that you never looked at an obituary ever as a young person. Someone like your mother told you if a friend of the family died. You probably made fun of older people talking about such things and reading the obits every day.
And then it happened. If you are still old school enough to read real ink, your eyes move to the obits. You do not want to, but like looking at a “People of Wal-Mart” photo display, you just cannot help yourself. It appears to be part of the cycle of life’s rich pageant. You read for the odd and weird obituary, or to see those who know. Come on, admit it that on some of them you want to know what really did them in — jealous wife, skydiving, what?
I do not want to get preoccupied with this dark subject, but some things about it are downright funny. I have written before about blasting your ashes into space, or compressing them into a new golf club, fly rod or such for the family to cherish. I saw a recently departed fully attired in leathers and helmet astride his beloved Harley in a large Plexiglas display case, ready to be lowered into the final internment. It was just a little bit weird.
A local shoe repair shop always had very new shoes of various types and sizes on a rack for sale as “used”. A late Federal Appellate Judge friend of mine always called them dead men shoes and was convinced the local directors repurposed them and sold them for the shoe shop. Just like the news anchors on TV, no one sees what the deceased is wearing below the waist anyway. Will they really need those new wing tips where they are going?
An Associated Press reporter in Los Angeles recently reported upon the latest in this morbid style of humor. Forest Lawn, the Dirt Purveyor to the Stars, has started opening sales kiosks in the local Los Angeles malls. “We try to reach our audience where they are at and the mall is a great way to do that”, said Ben Sussman, spokesman for Forest Lawn, whose cemeteries include customers such as Walt Disney, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson for examples.
Wait, let’s run down to the mall and pick up some socks and underwear. What the heck, let’s also get a burial plot. While they claim to be discreet, checking out an urn for grandma seems a bit odd when she is on her walker and with you at the mall. We’ll see how this works and let you know.
You may remember my friend who opened a casket store (he is also a part-time minister and a lawyer, so he can do the full package). His custom designs include stock cars and sports teams and one with a post office theme marked “Return to Sender”. You have to have a sense of humor.