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Planning My Funeral

June 19, 2012

Small Disclaimer:  This is straight from the mind of John with very little filtration.  If you read this, it’s your fault.

I think contemplating one’s mortality is healthy.  What happens after we die?  Thought there is some inherent mystery, thanks to whoever invented the wonderful legal document known as the “will,” we can have some control of what happens to us after we die.  In general, I don’t like funerals because you’re never quite sure how to conduct yourself.  I tend to find myself waiting for them to finish, then looking for some sort of buffet or light hors d’oeuvres which may or may not be somewhere nearby.  Ham and cheese bun in hand, I begin to ruminate, thinking about how much more awesome the funeral could have been.   Clearly, whoever died didn’t have their family and friends in mind when they kicked the bucket.

I’ve been to so many funerals on hillsides in sunny southern California.  Why not get some giant tarps and a hose and make a slip-n-slide to get the party started.  Water balloons could be fun too.  All I know is I want my funeral to be fun, and I want my body to have some sort of lasting memory associated with it.  Somehow, I want to live on (in infamy if necessary) in peoples minds long after I’m gone.  Because of this, I’ve come up with a few ideas for how I want my body to be taken care of.  To my parents, my family, friends, subscribers: lets treat this as an official document.  If any of these are possible financially, please pick one (preferably at random) and implement it.

1.  Space Roamer

I don’t know if this is physically possible, but I want my body depressurized in a vacuum.  Then I want it launched into space and released somewhere outside of earth’s orbit with a trajectory heading away from the sun.  If possible, don’t wrap me in a plastic bag or anything.  Just let me float free.  I want my corpse to roam the galaxy (and perhaps at some point, roam beyond the galaxy) forever.  With any luck, we’ll try to colonize Mars or something within the next few centuries, and the shuttle will accidentally ram me.  Won’t they be surprised!

2.  Sun Bather

Pavlov was onto something.  In order to keep my death positive in people’s minds, I think it should be tied to some kind of reward.  What greater reward is there than accomplishing something like climbing a mountain?  As an alternative to my induction into post-mortem NASA, which I imagine will never be financially feasible for me or my next of kin, perhaps we could just get me really close to outer space, like say Mt. Everest or K2.  Probably not one of those easy-to-climb mountains like Kilimanjaro or Fuji, but something that makes getting there by helicopter harrowing, somewhere you would never have a slip-n-slide.  Ice is a preservative of sorts, and could keep my lifeless frame well preserved for thousands of years possibly… or not.  Basically, I’d like to have my body sitting in a lawn-chair in board shorts with something like a beer or a Coca Cola in hand, and sunglasses on my face.  The few climbers who ever make it to the top will have a first class welcome.  You wanna visit grandpa’s grave?  Gotta climb K2.

3.  Murder Mystery

Ok, so those last ones, albeit amazing, would be pretty expensive and perhaps a bit unrealistic.  Everyone loves a good murder mystery right?  Well, I guess if you’re a cop, maybe not.  What if you just cut off my fingertips and removed my teeth and left me in the hills or the LA river instead of giving me a proper burial.  It would probably make national news.  Meanwhile, you guys would be chuckling about it.  Then on April Fools Day you could just send an anonymous note, with my will in it explaining the whole thing, and everyone would have a good laugh.

4.  The Simple Life Death

Just bury me in the backyard.  A cardboard or pine box will do.  Just go low budget.  If you want to have a party, please do… maybe a potluck or something.  This is a good setting for the slip-n-slide and/or water balloon fight.

5.  Funeral Pyre

I love hidden camera shows, particularly when they get a group of people rather than just one or two of them.  I’m not saying you should film this, but you’ll want to.  The Vikings had a tradition where they would shove their kings off into the sea in a longboat full of firewood and barrels of gasoline.  Then a lucky individual would get to shoot a fire-arrow into the longboat and set it ablaze.  I have a saying that I’ve found to be true in every situation thus far: Everything is more awesome with fire.  If you don’t believe me, watch an episode of Nitro Circus.  Anyway, I want a giant wooden surfboard made instead of a coffin.  I want that surfboard stacked with firewood (myself underneath the firewood), and that soaked in ocean-friendly gasoline.  Then I want to be shoved off into the ocean, preferably somewhere with lots of people around, like Venice Beach.  We’ll have a designated archer, dressed in full Viking attire (you can also do it polynesian style and wear a grass skirt if that’s easier), who will shoot a fire arrow into the surfboard and ignite it.  Then, as people gather around to watch the spectacle, the surfboard explodes!  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I want to have my body stuffed with M-80s.  Then chunks of me and firewood will be spread far and wide, covering the entire beach.  For many there it will be the most memorable funeral of their lives. Then when everyone’s upset, you just say “Gotcha!  You’re on a hidden camera show!”  Won’t they be surprised?  Maybe it would be better to take off early and just leave a note.

As a trained historian, I believe in citing my sources.  These aren’t all completely original ideas: 

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