Monday, January 28, 2013

Deep, Deep, and Forever


As a child not much more than four or five-years-old, it obsessed me. Quite a bit of chuckling was heard among my family members when I would ask my mother the following question: “If I eat the house, will I die?” A literal question, but it wasn’t asked as literally as it sounded. I was mainly concerned about the possibility of accidentally eating a piece of chipped paint from the wall and dying of lead poisoning.

When I was five or so, I nearly did die when I was electrocuted in a bakery. Through the years, I’ve been depressed thinking about the inevitability of my own extinction, while at other times I've wished for it when bitterly disappointed with the course of my life. Life is a grim business. Once born, we are doomed to the grave, and we become aware of that truth early on. "How can we live," Kenneth Tynan asked, "knowing we must die?"

One way is to prepare for it. Unless you are a committed and contented atheist, one way is to get your ass right with God. Another way is to plan for the disposal of your remains.

On the Internet, I looked up various sites that had information about embalming. It convinces me that cremation is the way to go.

One site belonged to a funeral home. The dead body is cleansed with a disinfectant. Then embalming fluid is injected into a vein while the blood is drained through another vein at the same time. Cotton is stuffed in the back of the throat, into the nose, and up the ass (and, for women, in the vagina), the mouth is sewn or wired shut, and rigormortis is dealt with by massaging the corpse. Embalming is not required by law. It is performed to prevent the spread of disease, as well as to hinder decay to enable the viewing that funeral directors insist is an essential component of the grief process.

No mention was made at this site of how the organs are removed from the body. That may seem a bit too outrageous, but it is, I believe, a part of the process.

Whenever I ponder this awful stuff, I think, first and foremost, of a 12-year-old classmate whose life was claimed by pneumonia back in seventh grade. She was the first among my peers to die, and though she was hopefully unaware of how her body was being vandalized by a mortician, I still find it unnerving to think about. It was her sudden demise that really communicated the reality that death doesn't just happen to other people. It happens to everyone, and someday in the not too distant future it will happen to me.

© 2013 Brian W. Fairbanks



  1. Interesting read. Nicely written. Hopefully you will have a long, enjoyable and prosperous life!

  2. I hope so, too. May you live long and prosper, as well. Thanks!