Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Paging Jessica Mitford!

It seems that a mortuary worker in California faked a funeral, as part of a $1.2 million insurance scam. When somebody got suspicious, Jean Crump and her henchmen "exhumed the coffin, filled it with a mannequin and cow parts, and cremated it." Classy, huh?

Just for the record, Fr. Anonymous, like most members of the clergy, spends a lot of time at funeral homes. His experience varies considerably, from home to home, but has often been pretty good. The industry has come a long way from The American Way of Death. Although we have met our share of impolite, crass and churlish funeral directors, we still find most of them to be decent people running decent businesses.

That said, when the time comes, we plan to make our own casket, out of cheap wood, and with no frills. No watered silk lining, because we don't want anybody opening the damn thing. No steel, no brass, and not much money. It's a coffin, for crying out loud. The idea is to use it overnight, then bury it. After that, it should rot as fast as possible, along with its contents. Most of the ones we see these days look like spacecraft on the outside and bordellos on the inside. They seem designed to fend off decay as long as possible, which just seems weird. ("A tanner will last you nine year;" isn't that more than enough?.)

Since we aren't gifted in the carpentry department, and intend to live well past the age at which one ought to be learning to use power tools, we may not actually follow through on this. In the event that we do not construct our own coffin, we have a couple of back-up plans. One is a nice Jewish casket. You ever see those things? Plain wood, no nails or other metal, very classy. And cheap. Another is to "go green." And of course our first choice, should Mother Anonymous come into some money between now and then, is to be turned into a diamond.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Your description of caskets is hilarious and right on. Oh my. I will probably pee in my pants remembering this when I'm in on picking out a casket some day in the not too distant future.

All the funerals I've been at lately have been after cremations. Seems better than sleeping in a bordello for eternity.

Mark C. Christianson said...

I've rather liked the idea of caskets like those made by the Trappist monks at New Melleray Abbey in Iowa or the Benedictines at Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana. Nice caskets, simple (even their fancier ones), and not ostentatious.

Father Anonymous said...

I didn't know about those, but just checked some out. Thanks for the tip. The St. Meinrad's "monastic caskets" look grand. I should probably just order one now, since that's what I'm going to want.

And yet even here, I can't help noticing that their "traditional casket" (at a substantially higher price) includes things like "an adjustable innerspring mattress." For a corpse.