Friday, February 3, 2012

Leaving this Mortal Coil With a Bang

                                                                            (photo @ buzzfeed.com)


Yesterday I was a bit taken aback while reading this article about luxury burials and grave plots. Apparently, there is quite a sizable market for people that would like to spend mountains of cash on the place where their body will slowly decompose.

The Mount Auburn Cemetery in Watertown, Massachusetts is known for the beautiful garden setting...and its insane price tag if you want to be laid to rest there. A burial plot can cost you around half a million dollars.  Sean O'Regan, the vice president of cemetery services and operations (and owner of the world's most depressing job title) justifies the expense thusly:

 "While you're not purchasing real estate - you're purchasing burial rights - it's definitely location, location, location." 
                                                                     synoptique.ca
 The importance of "location" varies greatly depending upon how dead you are.

The Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City is even more costly.  For a cool $3.5 million, you can get your own private mausoleum.  The structures are impressive enough on the outside, but the interior of your deluxe death house will include marble floors/walls and custom made windows.

You're basically getting a final resting place that may be in some ways nicer than the homes of many of the people that comes to pay their respects to your memory.

                                                                                                        bridgeandtunnelclub
 "Nice looking place, but it smells like someone died in there."


Donald Trump took a quick break from his companies filing for bankruptcy and harassing the president about his birth certificate to announce that he is considering adding a 1.5 acre cemetery next to his exclusive Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey.  

Members would have the option of being buried at the course included in their membership fee, which costs a mere $150,000 to join, with an additional yearly membership fee $20,000.

You or I may not think it's worth it, but surely there shall be some folks that will. Nothing says "dignified final resting place" like taking the big dirt nap in Donald Trump's New Jersey golf club and cemetery resort.   Having that type of class and sophistication added to your legacy is something that you can't put a price tag on.

                                                                                                     buzzfeed.com
But you can probably charge for it by the hour.


Reading all this craziness had me feeling kind of down...at least more than an article about cemeteries normally should. Why couldn't these people use all that money that they couldn't take with them and give it away to charity or less fortunate family members and friends?

I'm also now at the unfortunate age where some of my older relatives that I am very close to (grandmas, grandpas, uncles, aunts, etc) have begun passing away. I've watched as the heartache caused by their loss is compounded by the logistical and financial headache that a funeral can be.  

The average funeral in this country costs $6,560. That is quite a hefty price tag for us 99 percenters, especially considering that the person for whom the ceremony is taking place doesn't get to enjoy it. Not only that, but everyone that they cared about is either grieving or awkwardly reintroducing themselves to relatives that they haven't spoken to in 20 years.

                                                                              filmschoolrejects
Especially your cousin who still hasn't grown out of his "no clothes" phase

I personally decided a few years ago that I wanted my remains be cremated.  Caskets alone can cost between $2000 and $3000; I figure if I can save my loved ones some dough for the reception, then I can get over the fact that my body going to be burned or dissolved into powder.

Then, I read about something so amazing that for the first (and probably) only time in my life, I was excited about the prospect of my own funeral.  For about $4,000, a company called Angel's Flight will custom create an awesome fireworks display in your honor using 210 custom rockets...and your ashes.


Yep, the people that come to pay their last respects to me better prepare for a light show set to the greatest hits of the Foo Fighters...or Hans Zimmers' 'Dark Knight' soundtrack.  I haven't decided yet.

For an extra $1,000, you can have your funeral service on a yacht. They are even willing to do the funeral fireworks display in your own yard if the space is big enough. What better way to tick off your neighbors than disturbing them from the grave?!

                                                                               maafirm.com
Eat it, homeowners association!


Despite all my bravado and snarky demeanor, I am well aware that death is a sad and scary thing. When my grandmother died last year, I cried for two reasons:  I was going to miss my grandmother terribly, and because it suddenly dawned on me that one day (hopefully a very long time from now) I would also lose my own mom and dad.

But unlike many other attempted and successful humorists, I don't have a heart breaking origin story of abandonment, abuse, and heart ache (which is probably why my writing can royally suck sometimes). My parents are great and gave me a supportive, structured, and loving upbringing that I am incredibly lucky to have had.

I hope that when I leave this earth, people remember some good things about me, too. I hope that my funeral is more of a chance for people to get together and tell funny/strange tales, argue about politics, and tell poop/fart stories...because those things make me happy. 

I guess the idea of "going out with a bang" when I die isn't so much for me as it is the people in my life I love so much now and the ones I have yet to meet.   

Despite being a University of Kentucky fan whose favorite sport is college football, I've been blessed with a wonderful life, a huge part of which is constructed, supported, and enriched by the people that God has put around me.  

I think I at least owe them a good fireworks show and a boat ride.

Unless one of you wants to spring for a whole grave yard to create 
this set up; then I am fully on board with postmortum extravagance.



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