So this past weekend author Hunter S. Thompson had his ashes stuffed into a 40 foot cannon and then blasted over his property in Colorado as friends and family watched. Hopefully, the Thompson family provided the guests with a tent or something to stand under. “Cover your drinks!”
Anyway, this got me thinking: how would I want my remains disposed of? You could ask yourselves the same question. Before we wade into the answer, we should set a few ground rules. Number one, assume that you have unlimited resources…so basically you could do anything you wanted. Number two, you don’t have a lot of options if you choose to be buried. (Somehow, I think Mr. Thompson’s final party wouldn’t have gone so well if they stuffed his limp, lifeless body into that cannon and then fired it into the air.) Thus, being laid to rest with your body intact significantly limits your options for a final send-off, even if your passage to your final resting place doesn’t involve heavy artillery. For example, your friends and family may attract some unnecessary attention if they roll your lifeless body off a boat and into the ocean. So for this game, let’s assume you will be cremated.
As I was thinking about this, I came up with a few possible scenarios. Only the last one is realistic. The rest are just interesting thoughts. Well, for me anyway. So here they are in the order of how they popped into my head:
The Evil Ending
All my friends and family are invited over for a big dinner following my funeral whereby I am cremated (as discussed above). After everyone enjoys a grand meal, a card is handed to each person with the words “I will always be a part of you.” Did you guess what that delicious breading was on the chicken?
The main problem with this scenario is that you need too many insiders and thus way too much potential for the real story getting out and leaving a bad taste in peoples’ mouths…so to speak. Also, it’s not very a very kind final act towards people you actually liked and doesn’t really help with the whole karma thing…and in case there is an afterlife, that’s probably the last thing you want to do as you exit this world.
The Hollywood Ending
I’m going to spare the long description and just come right out with this one: your ashes are spread out over the ocean, either via boat or helicopter or just off a pier…as odd as that is. Ideally it’s a cloudy day when suddenly the sun peaks through for just a minute as What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong plays gently in the background. Or so I’ve been taught to believe it should go.
This one doesn’t work for me because first, it’s too cheesy. Secondly, I used to have a goldfish and I’ve seen them feed off basically anything flat and/or flaky that hits the surface of the water. In fact, I used to have a goldfish until I dipped the eraser of my pencil into the water and watched the goldfish obliviously feed upon it. Well actually technically my brother used to have a goldfish…the fish lived maybe two more days after his synthetic rubber meal. Deep down I still don’t think my brother has forgiven me. Anyway, the point is that I don’t want to become food for fish. I don’t particularly like fish, I don’t like the way they look and frankly, they seem like smug creatures.
The Likely Ending
Close friends and family gather for an open bar party with my urn placed in a prominent position. The music is restricted to the era of 1980 to 1999. Ideally, a few posters and memorabilia of my formative years would be on display, featuring Stallone, Arnold, Michael Jackson, Hulk Hogan, Poncherello, Chuck D, Wayne Gretzky, the A-Team, Ferris Bueller, all the members of New Edition, Michael Jordan, Michael J. Fox, Gordon Korman, Optimus Prime, Walter Payton, Arsenio Hall, Bon Jovi, a white Ferarri Testarossa, Prince, Mario Lemieux, and things of that nature. A potpourri really.
So after everyone gets bombed and has a good time with old friends and family reacquainting as The Urn watches on approvingly, a few people take the ashes up to a mountain somewhere and dump them (downwind of course) as Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen plays in the background.
That seems like a good way to go. I realize this was a pretty dark and somewhat macabre topic, but if you think about it, you plan for your death in many other ways through financial planning and legal wills, so why not your actual final resting place and exit party? If you plan everything else, you may as well go all the way and do absolutely everything on your own terms. At least how that’s how I feel. If you find yourself invited to my ceremony, just remember not to eat the chicken…just in case I change my mind.