Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Come on Baby Light My Fire!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

This recession (depression?) doesn't have many bright spots, but one small one is that I don't seem to be receiving nearly as much junk mail as I did even just a year ago. And the unwanted stuff that does land in my mailbox seems to be of a higher quality, or at least more interesting, than the crap that used to be wadded up with my first class mail.

Yesterday, for example, I received a very neat little piece of mail from an organization called The Neptune Society. The small envelope looked expensive, like something that might hold a formal invitation to something special. There was a notation on the front that read "Take care your your New Year's resolution today!" The backside had the return address of The Neptune Society in Tempe, AZ, along with a logo of a large ocean wave.

In my hand I had an unopened fancy envelope that looked like it contained an invitation, a notice that I was going to get something worthy of being a New Year's resolution, and a company name and logo that strongly implied a beach setting. It was so obvious: I was going to be invited to buy a condo on the seashore. The clues were all there!

Imagine my surprise when I opened this missive and learned that the Neptune Society was focused on fire rather than water. It was a crematorium service selling pre-paid cremations. I have a philosophy on body disposal that is not conducive to cremation, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Anticipating that not everyone who opened their mailing would be amenable to parting with their cash for a barbecue in the sweet by-and-by, the Neptune Society dropped a baited hook into their offer. Anyone who would fill out an information card and request more details would be entered in a sweepstakes. Once each month a winner would be drawn from all entries and that winner would receive...are you ready for this?...a pre-paid cremation! Last month's winner was George C. Bryson!

I plan to partake of a green funeral when my time comes. Green funerals, like cremeations, are much cheaper than the morbid shows that the funeral industry has foisted into state laws and onto grieving families who feel to ashamed to haggle over prices when discussing the eternal comfort of the dearly departed. States with green funerals are allowing people to be buried unembalmed and in cardboard coffins that will quickly decompose. That way corpses become compost feeding nature instead of bloated poison meat locked in mahogany and concrete just taking up space - for eternity. And cremation? Well, that's just a waste of good plant food!

So, I'm still debating whether to give the Neptune Society my personal information or not. I hope to never have a need for their services, but a certificate for a pre-paid cremation would be a really unique gift that I could pass on to someone special for a birthday, or Christmas, or just to say "I'm thinking of you today!"


Phillipia said...

Your post title is as deceiving as the the envelope you found in your mail...I still say it is cremation for me; I do not want to take up space. I admit, until now, I did not think of it as a waste of plant food...but that thought still creeps me out because natural decomposition will be helped along by the worms crawling in, the worms crawling out (sounds like a song)...so light my fire:)
Happy Holidays!!!

xobekim said...

The post title was right on, I made the connection and began to laugh with mention of the Neptune Society.

You're right to avoid the excessive expense of emotional overspending. Funerals should be pre-planned.

What you've described as a green funeral is remarkably similar to funerals in the Jewish tradition. Although the Jewish people will purchase the caskets and vaults, they have a hole cut into the bottom of the vault so that their remains return to earth.

A casket is the long rectangular box with handles. A coffin is that trapezoidal container still used in other parts of the world.

The outer burial container is not a requirement of state or fedeal law. It is a cemetery rule intending to keep the premises safe. As the body and casket decompose the ground shifts downward. This destablizes the area and headstones topple. Unfortunaltely headstones have toppled, injuring and killing cemetery visitors.

Whatever casket you choose make sure it is strong enough to carry your corpse to the grave site. I was once envolved with the burial of a very large deceased lady. Her family had very little money and to save every penny they selected a casket designed to be burned in cremation. This chip-board thing was falling apart as we lugged the dead lady to the grave. Another ten feet and would have had to roll her to her final rest. Not very dignified.

Pre-Arrangement makes sense to me. Since you are in the valley I suggest you go over to Mesa's Mariposa Gardens. I'am not saying you should buy from them, but you'd love the grand tour. Plus they dole out starbucks coffee and freshly baked cookies. The snack is worth the trip!

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

Thanks for all of the advice. Philippia, I've been humming "the worms go in - the worms go out..." all day! Mike, that's a horrible story about the woman in the cheap box - you should turn it into a short story! I don't want to be buried in the Valley of Hell, but a trip to Mariposa Gardens sort of sounds like fun. I may do it!