Going Out With a
Bang, Not a Whimper
by Mad Dog
people have had their cremains stuffed into firework shells. Others have
had theirs mixed with concrete to form artificial reefs, allowing the
family to remember Dad hanging around a very different kind of dive.
||For years, Hunter Thompson
said he wanted to have his ashes blasted out of a cannon after he died.
His wish may come true. His wife and son say they’re looking into
packing the writer’s remains into an artillery shell and firing it
into the Aspen sky. Leave it to Thompson to go out in a blast twice.
People do interesting things with
cremated remains, or cremains as they’re so cutely called in the
trade. Never mind that it sounds like what’s leftover after processing
cranberries, it was the best thing available from Euphemisms-R-Us at the
time. Some people take the classic approach and put the cremains in an
urn on the mantle (“Does this vase need to be dusted or is your Aunt
Mildred leaking again?”). Others bury them, which seems to defeat the
purpose. Still others scatter the ashes in a loved one’s favorite
place, such as the ocean, golf course, or La-Z-Boy recliner. You have to
be careful though, sometimes these plans go awry. A few years ago in
California authorities discovered a warehouse full of ash-filled
cardboard boxes which a pilot was supposed to have scattered from his
plane. They should have been tipped off after he was heard to announce,
“Your seat cushion will double as a flotation device, but that
doesn’t matter to you now.”
requested that his ashes be mixed with plastic and made into a special
edition Frisbee. And why not? Who among us hasn’t had the urge to play
with a loved one long after they died?
|| While most
people are self-centered about what happens to their cremains — you
never hear of anyone saying they want to be scattered wherever their
friends feel like scattering them — some, like Thompson, want the
living to enjoy them after they’re gone. That’s why some people have
had their cremains stuffed into firework shells. Others have had theirs
mixed with concrete to form artificial reefs, allowing the family to
remember Dad hanging around a very different kind of dive. In 1997 a
special edition of the comic book Squadron Supreme was printed
using ink containing the ashes of Marvel Comics artist Mark Gruenwald,
which created quite an ethical dilemma for his family when they had to
decide if it was proper to wash the ink off their hands after they read
Some people want to
be a profit center after they die, like “Steady Ed” Headrick. He was
the man who invented the Pro Model Frisbee and was known as the father
of disc golf, a game in which the goal is to throw a Frisbee into a
metal basket. Think of it as a sport that combines the best of golf,
basketball, and hanging around the parking lot waiting for a Phish
concert. Headrick requested that his ashes be mixed with plastic and
made into a special edition Frisbee. And why not? Who among us hasn’t
had the urge to play with a loved one long after they died? The
Steady” Ed Memorial Discs sell for $210 per set of two — yes,
there’s a putter and a driver — and you’ll be happy to know that
the price includes shipping and handling.
I’ve always wanted to be cremated and have my friends smoke my remains.
We’ll probably be seeing more creative ways to use our remains. This
is because cremation is getting more popular all the time. About 29
percent of the Americans who died last year were cremated, a number
that’s expected to reach 40 percent ten years from now. The reasons
for this increase are many. For one, it’s cheaper than being pumped
full of embalming fluid, slathered with make-up that looks as natural as
Michael Jackson, and buried in a plot that has a monthly maintenance
fee. And you thought those condo fees ended when you died. Hah!
Cremation is also environmentally sound. After all, according to the
Cremation Association of North America (motto: “When you absolutely
positively want to make an ash of yourself”) the average cremated
ashes weigh about 6½ pounds and take up about the same amount of space
as a Kenneth Cole size 7 shoe box. And cost a lot less than the shoes
which came in it.
are other options besides burial and cremation. You could do what Roy
Rogers did when Trigger died and have him stuffed, or mounted as they
prefer to say at the Roy Rogers Museum, though personally that sounds a
little too necrophilic for my
taste. Roy was so happy having Trigger reared up on its hind legs
forever that he also had Bullet the Wonder Dog, Dale’s horse
Buttermilk, and Trigger, Jr. stuffed. I remember a few years back when
Roy was at the opening of one of his eponymous restaurants introducing
the Trigger Burger™ and he said, “When I die I hope they skin me out
and put me up on Trigger.” Just kidding. Actually there was no Trigger
Burger™. So imagine my disappointment when I went to the Roy Rogers
Museum and Trigger’s saddle was empty.
Personally, I’ve always wanted to
be cremated and have my friends smoke my remains. I mean, cremains. Of
course I haven’t checked with the D.E.A. so I’m not sure whether I
might be encouraging them to commit a Schedule A felony or whether it
would just be Contributing To The Delinquency Of Friends Who Are So
Goofy They Go Along With One Of My Dumb Ideas. Hey, it’s no dumber
than being shot out of a cannon.
©2005 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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