BURY ME IN A BALSA WOOD COFFIN
By Mark Rosenthal
For years, I have harbored a dirty, little secret. A filthy, tiny secret. A disgusting, minuscule secret.
I will probably die.
I know what you are thinking. “What manner of madness is this!? You can’t die! We still haven’t gotten your thoughts on currency manipulations in foreign markets!” Fear not, noble reader. My thoughts on that subject were written long ago, and have been kept in a tungsten lock box to be opened only upon my demise. Also in said lock box:
- A copy of Europe’s Wings of Tomorrow (the album that DOESN’T have “Final Countdown” on it)
- A gold coin imprinted with twin snakes (for Charon the Ferryman)
- A photo of myself dressed as Meat Loaf (for the shits and/or giggles of all my afterlife friends).
At the time of this writing, I am 34 years of age. I am overweight. I smoke half a pack of cigarettes daily (but I’m cutting down, I swear). I treat all-you-can-eat buffets as mandatory challenges to my testicular fortitude. Let us face facts: I’ve had a good run. Everything from here on out is gravy. Also: I drink gravy.
If I make it to 40 with all my original parts, I will consider that a pretty significant defeat of God. If I am not more machine than man by 40, that would be the equivalent of dunking on God, hanging on the rim too long, getting T’d up and then clapping really annoyingly while he shot his free throw. For all you non-sports fans, it would be as if I built a time machine, went back to 1969, and released Abbey Road before The Beatles, then clapped really annoyingly while they shot their free throw.
Not that it would help. Everyone knows John was the smart one, Paul was the cute one, Ringo was the funny one, and George was the 97% career free throw shooter. He was also the first Beatle to dunk in concert. True story.
Returning to my point: when I die, my body will have to be disposed of. As a rule, society generally doesn’t allow bodies to just pile up. Thanks a lot, Plagues. The real question is how? How should my former flesh vessel be taken care of? I’ve thought about this at length, because I like to be prepared and, more importantly, I had already written the title to this piece. And frankly, I refuse to believe there are corners I cannot write myself out of. Take that, intersecting points.
As such, here are my preferred methods of corpse disposal. I know this seems ghoulish, but remember: it’s MY body, and believe me when I say I will treat it with the utmost respect.
1. CREMATE ME AND PUT MY ASHES IN PEPPER SHAKERS
Simple. Elegant. Classy. This is the “velvet smoking jacket” of body disposal scenarios, by which I mean it pairs well with a Cohiba Esplendido and a snifter of 20-year Calvados.
First, dump my body in a fire. Any fire will do, really. Sure, you could spend ALL THAT MONEY and have a REAL Funeral Director toss me in a REAL crematory, but I’m not fancy. I don’t put on airs. Any actively burning fire is acceptable. Once my ashes have been secured, simply divide the remains into 2 Mil resealable bags, or “coke baggies.”
After that, it’s as simple as eating breakfast at Denny’s or lunch at Denny’s or dinner at Denny’s and depositing a small amount of ash in the nearest pepper shaker at Denny’s. Make sure to shake it up a little, so I’m thoroughly mixed in with the pepper. Voila! My dying wish is fulfilled! And all it cost you was a meal at Denny’s. I recommend the Moons Over My Hammy®!
Seriously: if you do this at an IHOP, I will haunt the shit out of you.
2. DUMP MY BODY IN AN ACTIVE VOLCANO
Extreme! Aggro! Assiduous! This is the Point Break of body disposal scenarios, by which I mean it will be directed by a strong female in Hollywood and then pointlessly remade fifteen years later.
In this scenario, it is important that I am NOT cremated ahead of time. This is not to be a scattering of the ashes. This is to be an entire body dumping. I want my whole, unspoiled body (assuming I haven’t been mauled by pandas, of course) dropped from the sky into a bubbling cauldron of magma.
Don’t be a dickhole and drop me on a dormant volcano. I’m not paying you to drop me on a cold ass mountain. What payment, you ask? Look behind your ear. Why, what in the world could that be? It’s a SHINY NEW NICKEL! Now that payment is rendered, seriously, don’t be a dickhole. Find a wide open pit of lava and drop me in.
Seeing as commercial airlines would likely scoff at opening any part of a moving plane to allow my body to be dropped, you’ll probably need to requisition a flying contraption in an extralegal matter. I recommend stealing a helicopter. If years of playing Grand Theft Auto have taught me anything, it’s that if you hide long enough or spray paint your vehicle, the military will just forget you existed and go home.
Quick reminder: when I die it will be the future. How far ahead, I cannot say, but be prepared for the existence of Sky Police or Jetpack S.W.A.T. Teams or dragons. Also, please make sure that nastiness with the panda does NOT happen. I would prefer not to have to explain that I was killed by an evolutionary dead end.
3. BURY ME IN A BALSA WOOD COFFIN
We made it to the titular death scenario! Congratulations! By making it this far, you’ve won a copy of our home game: this very article you are holding with your eye gaze! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!*
This is the “comfortable shoes and movement clothes” of body disposal scenarios, by which I mean everything to follow can be applied to both body disposal and musical theatre auditions.
Everything here is pretty straightforward: instead of building my coffin from the finest of mahogany, construct it from the cheapest of balsa wood. Then bury it as shallow as legally allowed.
I’m a firm believer in the upcoming battle of Man V. Zombie. I’m also a firm believer that despite my girth, lack of athletic ability, and complete lack of martial weapons prowess, I will be able to hold my own against the hordes of the undead. However, if I happen to die before said apocalypse, I would like to be able to serve Team Zombie to the best of my abilities. That means having an easily escapable coffin and minimal amounts of dirt to claw my way out of. Nobody wants to be the last zombie out of the ground in an Undead Uprising. All the good brains will be eaten. All I will be left with is the people who rap out loud on the subway and probably a Real Housewife of WhoGivesAShitVille. Maybe two.
Good rule of thumb: make sure I am buried in one of those swanky cemeteries. Polished marble headstones, golden crypts, obsidian obelisks. The kind of place a beloved entertainer or an asshole who happens to be super duper mega rich might be interred. I’m serious on this. I will not budge. If I am seen bursting forth from the earthen crust of some low rent, no-mausoleum-having cemetery by all the cool zombies, I will just die.
I assume I will die with pants around my ankles, as I am not a fan of belts.
So there you have it. All the information required to dispose of my body should I perish. Be a doll and make sure one of my three final wishes are followed to a T. Or a Q. I’m not picky.**
*Reader will receive NO CHICKEN.
**PSYCHE! I’m MAD picky, son!
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