I don't expect to be reincarnated,
so I'll blog about dying and death (with appropriate irreverence) while I'm still alive.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Avoiding idiocy at funerals

When a Jewish person dies, the funeral is scheduled very quickly--often the next day if family members can arrive quickly enough.

There is no wake, viewing or visitation spread over several days before interment.

The coffin is CLOSED, with no need to dress the dearly departed in fine clothes and bling, or to apply makeup or posthumous plastic surgery. The lasting memories of friends and family can be of a person--not of a corpse.

I'm Jewish but have attended a few non-Jewish funerals. People approach and study the tarted-up corpse (that may be wearing clothes that would never have been selected or tolerated in life, and perhaps with hair parted in the wrong direction, dirty eyeglasses, or some other failure in "preparation"). The DB usually looks more like a manikin than a person, and much less lifelike than a DB provided by a prop house for Law and Order or CSI.

Inevitably, there will discussion of the DB's appearance, and some idiot will remark that "Uncle Willy sure looks fine."

It has taken me great restraint to not respond, "You fucking idiot! Your uncle is as DEAD as a goddam lamb chop in a case at the supermarket. Willy is now a piece of meat! What the hell does it matter what a piece of meat looks like--if you are not considering buying and eating it?

I've never said it in person, but I have said it here.

Keep the box closed. It will save some money, avoid some tears, and avoid some idiocy.

(BTW the photo shows a LIVE person at a protest about health services, from BBC News)

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