Monday, October 26, 2009

Everyone Wants My Body

Do I look like a goner to you? Today's mail brought an invitation to a cremation-- my own -- because "Death is what makes our lives so precious, exquisite and magnificent."


I'm glad we cleared that up. I hadn't quite made the connection and tended to attribute all that precious, exquisite magnificence to life itself. I feel so stupid now.

"We offer basic cremation services because our clients are smart .... smart enough to know how best to choose a plan that fits their own agenda." Actually, my agenda does not include dying. I really want to know how everything turns out, so I believe that I will be best served by being here forever. That's basically a no-brainer.

Smart Cremation even has the nerve to quote Winston Churchill, although I doubt that esteemed gentleman was referring to funeral planning when he spoke these words: "Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning." It was during the Second World War, so I suspect he was strategizing how to keep England and her Allies free and non-German speaking.

This company is located in Washington State so I'm not sure how they intend to get my body up there to the raging bonfire, and aren't there laws about transporting dead people across state lines? Further, would they be taking the scenic route up the coastline, or simply loading me onto an airplane? When my mother died in Florida, we had her flown to New York for burial next to my father, who had been waiting for a very long time. Since I do not own a funeral plot and have never enjoyed burning myself in the kitchen, I see no alternative but to live forever.

Their stationery is decorated in a leaf motif. (Which is kind of a nice leitmotiv.) The letter itself has leaves along the sides that could be birch while the RSVP is definitely decked in maple. Is this a subtle way of telling me that they use woodfire in their ovens, like California pizza? (Hold the sprouts and pineapple.)

My cat's ashes reside in a Japanese urn on our mantel. Since I have three children, I would have to be divided among them if they couldn't agree on where to fling my remains, which brings to mind portioning out a chicken when they were young. Who would get the drumstick, and who the breast? White or dark meat? And how could they tell as one assumes that all ashes look alike? They shouldn't have to deal with Mom on a platter.

The ghouls good folks at Smart Cremation are awaiting my response. I hate to disappoint them, but they really shouldn't be taking anything for granted, like my demise. Nobody will be more surprised than I if I die, but I refuse to arrange for it because I know that what you focus on grows. And while I am growing older, I am not dead yet so any thoughts of disposing of my mortal remains are decidedly premature.


secret agent woman said...

I want ot be cremated, but good grief! The direct marketing approach to what to do with your corpse is ghoulish.

Jocelyn said...

Could you cremate their letter and return it to them in a leaf-strewn urn?

Warty Mammal said...

I can't remember the last time I read such a cheering post on such a grim topic.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Squirrels are good at burying things! And the squirrel mafia even more so! Can we offer our services?

nick said...

We don't get mailshots from undertakers in Britain, though a lot of people pay for their funeral plans in advance so relatives don't get the bill. But like you, I prefer not to think about death, when it happens it happens and my lucky relatives can deal with it any way they wish. As far as I'm concerned, they can simply cremate me and throw the ashes on the nearest rose bush.

Your musings on the mailshot are hilarious. I can just imagine a tussle over sharing out the ashes, with your remains landing on the carpet! And how would they know they're your ashes anyway, and they hadn't been mixed up with someone else's?

the walking man said...

I have my advanced directive in place and after the Gross Anatomy (yes it is the only way I could figure to be the center of attention after I die)class is done cutting sewing and writing reports about how bionic I am they can pitch it into a garbage bag and feed the gulls with it.

But then they still have a minimum of a century to wait before I fulfill my end of the contract.

TechnoBabe said...

I like Jocelyn's comment. Include all your questions, like how would your body get to the big bonfire in their state.

Laura Lee said...

wonderful statements! I second all of them!!!

Anonymous said...

How smart is Smart Cremation? Gee whiz. The tact and subtlety of our society is just about non-existent these days. They should be forced to send their mail only to those who are already dead -- and can't receive their mail anyway.

You are very much alive, my friend, in body and spirit. Don't give in without a fight!!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Cremation would be my choice, too, if I were ever going to die.

It's MY denial and so far, it's working.


No wonder I wait breathlessly for pearls to drop from your lips. You are brilliant!!!


It's not grim if you are staunchly in denial, as I am.


What a kind offer! I'll let you know when the need arises.


Your point about relatives not getting the bill has occurred to me, as has the issue of mixed remains. We paid extra to ensure that our cat's ashes would just be hers, but of course we were taking that on faith. I guess I should get over my squeamishness and address this, but not at the prompting of a company trying to drum up business.


I've considered donating myself for medical research but frankly, hate the idea of callow kids eating sandwiches over my naked body and making jokes about my nice rack.

I'm very happy to know that it will be at least 100 years before you fulfill your end of the contract.


I would like to know more about the accommodations before I accept the invitation.

Laura Lee,

Thanks, I knew we could count on you.


Tact and subtlety indeed. They will have to carry me out kicking and screaming. Oh, wait.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I'm living forever as well, so you will have some company, and we can just go on writing (yes, I mean that) the wrongs of the world in an effort to change some of them.

And thank you for checking on my page.
The race will probably resume next Monday. Hope you are well rested.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Anonymous said...

You're not going to die because (unless I predecease you) a world without you here would be just a little less tolerable.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oh, we'll have such fun! Living forever is the only way to go.

Sometimes "writing" the wrongs is all we can do since "righting" them is usually out of our hands.


It's greatly reassuring to know you've got my back. Thank you.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

The problem with squirrels is that we occasionally unbury the things we bury. Hope that will not be inconvenient.

thailandchani said...

I've gotten a few of those letters, too. Honestly, they make me laugh. Is there anything that hasn't become commoditized?


heartinsanfrancisco said...


Not for ME. My olfactory glands will have already shut down by then.


Short answer: Nope.

Maria said...

Good hell. I must say I have never received anything like that. Interesting.

meno said...

Did they use they word "cremains"? That's a marketing word invented to avoid the potentially upsetting "ashes".

Honestly, what next?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It must be that you're never going to die either, and they didn't want to waste a stamp.


They didn't use that word, but the people who cremated our cat did. Then there are "craisins," probably so-named because some people are finicky about cranberries but trust raisins.

Let's face it, euphemisms aside, it all boils down to choosing whether to be burned or buried.

Jo said...

You should write back and tell them thanks, but no thanks, but when the time comes (sometime around 2095) you plan to be shot into space in a rocket, like Gene Roddenberry. I think that would be much more fun than being buried or burned. :-)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Is it ok if I include a few dog droppings with my no-thank-you letter? It shouldn't bother them since they deal in bodily remnants.

Meggie said...

I prefer the thought of cremation, & like my mother, do not care what happens to my ashes.
We have a lot of Funeral Plan insurance advertising over here. An enterprising housewife has introduced online caskets -she makes them herself, & they cost a fraction of the 'Industry' models!

Anonymous said...

Good Grief! That's so... macarbe?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Does she sell them online, or are they just virtual coffins?


Yes, but then the whole idea of being dead is kind of macabre, too, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Well aren't they so nice to ask how you want to deal with your own death?! I have never gotten any mail that brought up the thought of my own demise thank goodness! I will be checking my mail with the hopes that all I get are bills and a Family Dollar coupon book!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yes, they're very considerate. I'm thinking maybe I would like to be left in a tall treetop for the buzzards, just to spite all the greedy funeral people.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm sure you are the smart one to assume that you're the only one who will make it out of this alive and to leave the $10,000 funeral bill to your family. Very thoughtful of you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You're pretty hostile for someone who isn't brave enough to sign your name. Apparently you didn't realize that the post was intended to be humorous, so I have to ask: Do you work for a mortician?