Dead People – C. Loving

The American way of burial is pretty confusing. Having tried to make this simple is impossible …

First off once the person is dead, the EMS has to come and see that they are indeed dead. They declare that the person is flat-lined. Then the police come to see if they are indeed dead as suspected by the EMS and that there is no inflicted trauma and they have to check with homicide. Natural causes is easy for them – less forms to fill out.

If there are medications around they count all the pills and write down all the ‘scrip’s and call all the doctors. The doctor of the dead person has to be located to sign the death certificate. If that doesn’t happen then they have to take the body to the morgue instead of loading it in a van to take to the mortuary. And the mortuary has to be called or a mortuary, in this case there was a prepaid policy.

The body had to be taken to another town and the mortuary in the other town called a mortuary in this town and they sent a van with a ghoul driving. He loads the corpse and takes it to the freezer box and then moves it the next day to the other town.

Is this getting complicated or what?

Then you go to the mortuary in the other town and get to see the former “Time Share Salesmen,” and listen to their Schtick. They, of course, are so sorry first off. They all seem to have pale green skin and clammy hands. They are somewhat pissed in this case because the dead person planned ahead and bought a burial policy back in 1965. The costs have risen: a real burial costs $8,000 to $10,000 these days says the creepy guy in the brown suit.

He sort of chuckles. So they try to sell more stuff. A better casket, maybe made of copper or bronze, gold-trimmed with a silk liner or something like that so the dead person will be comfortable. So the casket won’t deteriorate, you will want a weather proof (and worm-proof, I suppose) box to put the casket in.

Then they give you all the legal forms, of course, and try to sell you the flowers; lots and lots of flowers. You must have flowers. The first weasel leaves and the second weasel comes in to talk about grave stones and he has this book of all kinds of grave stones. A Sears catalogue of stones. The ones with digital pictures of the dead person are pretty cool if you are really morbid.

I recall the Mexican cemeteries. Surely the services there are simpler. A wooden cross or a couple of sticks tied together. Whatever happened here is ghoulish.

Then there is the hole digging. They have this contract with Pedro to dig holes. He has a special dead people hole-digging machine.

Oh yes, I forgot the music. There has to be music. This isn’t my idea at all but it was in the script. The cost of music has risen a lot since 1965. Another check for fifteen minutes.

The final plan after the service is the driving to the burial site in the big black limos with police escort. Why police escort? We don’t need police escort. Well that is part of the deal. Why not a pickup truck with the box in the back? No way the weasel lobby has it all locked in. They need the money.

This is really a good grief if there ever was one. No funeral pyres here. If you cremate then that costs a zillion dollars too and you have to buy an urn. And there are tons of urns. I opted for a plastic box for my Mom which I carry around with me and occasionally will misplace it and have to search for it. I found it again amongst the stuff in the garage so everything is cool but I am not sure what to do with it? Take it back to Switzerland? But it might be explosive so maybe it could be considered a bomb?

Anyway I will let you know how it turns out. This funeral thing is getting to be a habit here of late.

My personal favorite of ghoulish rites is the military funeral. I like the playing of taps and the 21 gun salute. I was involved in three or four of them and the taps always brings a tear to the eye. The first time I went to a military funeral was at a battalion level. We all knew the guy who had been killed and there was a band and a pass in review and all the good stuff that makes for grand pomp and circumstance. The 21-gun salute was with canons which is really cool, and a great waste of money as is a passing in review and all the other pomp.

Charlie Loving

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