Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Post-Death Event Planning

So, I've been thinking lately, for no particular reason: What would I want to happen to my body after I die?

I've got a will, and all that fun stuff, but I don't believe the current version I have filed says anything about what I want to happen with my body, or what kind of hors d'oeuvres I'd like served at my funeral (devil'd eggs... fuck yeah!). So I got to thinking.

I used to be of the very pragmatic school of thought, "What do I care what they do with my body? I'm dead. Let 'em use a few organs if they need 'em, then do to my body whatever my surviving loved ones would find most comforting." And, I suppose, when push comes to shove, that's still where I stand. But I have preferences.

For a long time, I thought, "Eww, I don't want to ROT, for god's sake. Just cremate me, and scatter my ashes somewhere." I was never sure where, exactly, but the idea I always come back to is the Pacific Ocean. But then I was like, "I don't know that I want to be tossed into a sterile oven, then put in a little can, waiting for my loved ones to scatter me to the winds. That's kind of a drag." It was the oven and crematorium, that I found especially to be a bummer. But I still liked the two main ideas: cremation, and Pacific Ocean. That's when it hit me...


Oh, sweet! A small, wooden boat is constructed, and a pyre is built on it, where my pallid, lifeless body is laid to rest. Then people throw flowers on it (mostly because hair stinks when it burns, and I'm kinda furry... unless they wax me first... man, that would be a shitty job for somebody... oh, wait, I've gotten sidetracked), and glasses full of booze (single-malt, please), and some memorabilia with sentimental value, like photographs, and costumes from plays, and Garbage Pail Kids (that would be so throw-back). Then they push me into the water on the out-going tide, and some gorgeous woman who loved me will run into the water wailing and beating her breast, but before she manages to fling herself into the waves, my buddies will have caught up to her and pulled her back (they are so gonna try to get with her later, and I'll be all, "Go for it, dude! I'm dead, I'm not even trippin'!"). Then, when the boat gets far enough out that they're sure it's not going to drift back to shore (that would be embarrassing, haha!), some highly skilled archers will shoot flaming arrows into my boat, and I'll go up in raging fire, and be cremated right there in the Ocean, while everyone on shore gets rip-roaring drunk.

Nice, huh? But where does one go to have a viking funeral arranged? And are there legal and/or ecological issues to be considered. More research is required... a good idea, though.

But recently, I've had a few multidimensional psychedelic experiences (don't ask) which have led me to contemplate the eternal in new ways. Now part of me thinks, "Hey, it's not natural, being turned into gases and carbon ashes all fast like that. I'm supposed to decompose, and slowly go back to the earth." Right? But WHERE to be buried?

The impetus for this new train of thought was wanting to rejoin the natural cycle of things. That being said, a standard cemetery is definitely not for me. All those bodies lying there, turning into perfectly good fertilizer, and what do they fertilize? Grass! Are you kidding me!? What a waste! My cells will turn to nutrient-rich soil, and that soil will be used only to feed some LAWN!? Fuck that.

Now, a few years ago I read about this unique "cemetery" which is really just some forest that's been sectioned off, and you're buried in this special coffin which biodegrades super fast, and then you're food for the TREES. Now, I really like that a lot. I think I'd love to become part of a forest; have people stroll though me, meditate in me, some teenagers will carve their names with a heart around them in me (hey!... ah, kids will be kids). The problem is that this place I was reading about is in Wisconsin or something; I don't have any family or friends there. It'd be tough for them to visit me if they wanted, and that would just be selfish of me.

Then, more recently, I was thinking, "Hey, I was born into the animal kingdom, maybe part of me should stay in that kingdom." Which led, of course, to only one logical conclusion:

Torn Apart by Beasts.

Okay, fine, not my most popular idea ever, and there are certainly some big strikes against it; most notably, my mom would totally freak... and friends would probably find the idea upsetting as well, but I mean come on, how cool would that be? Find a pack of hungry lions, toss my (refrigerated, then reheated) body in the middle of 'em, and they will get the job done faster than any undertaker on the planet. Then I'd be part lion! Or rather, the lions would be part me, which would also be cool. Then, y'know, the crows and vultures could have the rest, which sounds gross, but then part of me would be flying around (which I've always wanted to do). Then, also, every time these lions and vultures procreate, a little part of me descends through their progeny, and just a little bit of Brent goes on forever (same thing happens if they're eaten by other animals... that's cool, too... whatever). Sounds good, right?

OR... is that just my sad little attempt at immortality, because I fear other worlds, having known only this one? Hmmm... I'll have to do some thinking about that.

I guess, all things considered, I'd still probably let my loved ones have the biggest say in what happens to my body. After all, they're the ones that need some comfort and closure, and I'm just dead, and I'll probably be fairly indifferent. I would guess that leaving my corpse out in the jungle to be Torn Apart by Beasts then rot and moulder in the sun, would probably supply the least amount of comfort and closure for them, so I guess we can probably rule that one out. The Buried in a Forrest idea has a lot of potential, and I guess it's up to them what they would find most comforting. I will only add this...

... dude... Viking Funeral. I mean, come on!

That shit would be dope.

(don't forget the devil'd eggs)

-BR 8/18/06

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