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

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cremation is cheating

A man I knew died about ten years ago. He had seldom visited his parents' graves, and assumed his own children would seldom or never visit his.

He therefore announced that he wanted to be cremated, with his ashes divided into three piles and distributed to his wife and two daughters, so the survivors would always be nearby.

I've never felt a strong bond with the dead, whether they have been reduced to box of rotting flesh or a pot of powder. I can think about my dead relatives whenever I want to, without visiting a cemetery or running my fingers through ashes.

I would probably feel pretty weird if a long black car or a big brown truck showed up at my door, and the uniformed driver handed me an urn with a packing slip announcing the arrival of Uncle Benny. I'd probably stick the urn in a basement closet along with a bowling trophy won by my late father-in-law in 1957.

I actually don't like cremation at all.

I fully recognize that burial space near big cities is being rapidly used up. In some places people are buried head-up/feet-down to save space. Obviously, reduction to ashes would save significant real estate, but cremation is cheating the system.

We are all part of the food chain.

Every time we inhale microbes or bite into a burger, we are implicitly agreeing to a contract.

We get to eat and absorb other life forms now, to support our bodies as long as we need them. When we're dead but still fresh, our bodies should first be scavenged for any useful parts. Eyes and skin and a pancreas and heart may improve the lives of other human beings.

The leftovers become the equivalent of compost, and life goes on. The rejected pieces should be buried in a rot-able container--so we can become worm food. Then the worms help grow plants, which absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen which supports the life forms up above our carcasses. If cows or other creatures munch on "our" grass, trees, flowers or bushes, we earn extra points. It's kind of like trading carbon credits.

The ash urn shown above is available from Strangely, they sell urns and pet caskets, but no caskets for human beings.

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