Friday, 27 June 2014



The Stiff Silent Type


Some mornings you wake up and figure you’ve got a pretty firm handle on things. The coffeemaker was prepped the previous evening. World War III didn’t break out overnight. The tabby with the delicate gut kept his breakfast down. The garden has exploded with growth and colour. The weather is warm and sunny. The planet seems like a pretty normal place on this particular day. So you light that tasty first cigarette outside on the patio and open the newspaper. You close the newspaper and put it down. You check the publication date. No, it’s not April Fools Day. You pick up the paper and open it again and it’s still there in macabre black and white. You close the paper and put it down again. You sit back in the lawn chair and begin to ponder the wisdom of people planning their own funerals. Apparently an open casket just isn’t good enough for some.


Thursday’s Edmonton Journal carried a London Daily Telegraph story about a New Orleans funeral home that prides itself ‘on putting the “fun” into funerals.’ It’s sort of Madame Tussauds, except with corpses, a ghoulish business. Viewings at the parlour feature the dearly departed positioned (and obviously propped up – bungee cords?) in lifelike poses in lifelike settings, a boxer wearing a hoodie, robe and shades leaning on the turnbuckle is one actual example. Another recently deceased woman greeted her mourners whilst seated at a table posed with a cigarette and a beer. Again, sunglasses are de rigueur. The dead are respected of course, you can dress them up but you can’t take them anywhere.


If this trend strikes you as tasteless, it’s important to note that none of the poseurs wished to be interred in a KISS Kasket.


In related news, aRise!, a necrophilia advocacy group, has recently launched a public awareness campaign with the tag line, ‘See? We’re not so creepy after all.’ The initial YouTube ads featuring Alice Cooper’s ‘I Love the Dead’ and ‘Cold Ethyl’ were taken down after the legendary shock rocker refused to grant his consent for their usage. An aRise! spokesperson confirmed as much. ‘His people got in touch with us. They said it was all an act and always has been. And for me, well, it was like when I was a kid and found out there was no Santa Claus. Anyway, we’ve got a call into Marilyn Manson.’

Meanwhile, here in the backyard there’s so much more to think about. What do you wear to your own funeral? Where to sit or stand? What to drink? It’s tough enough picking a song or two for the service, let alone keeping your will up to date.

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