Well, I’ve considered that I’ll soon be dead. No biggie, as I’ve got numerous options planned for my post-death life.
“How’s life?” I’m sometimes asked.
And I usually reply: “Great! Especially when you consider the alternative.”
It’s a smart-mouth comment to an innocent question. But it has an important truth at its core:
You’re going to die.
If it’s any consolation, so is everyone else.
What will it feel like to be dead? The same as it didn’t before you were born.
As I recently pondered the reality and inevitability of my own mortality (something I can highly recommend doing, as it provides a profound appreciation for one’s current vigour) I started to wonder what will happen after I skip the light fandango.
I don’t mean: will I go to heaven? I already know the answer to that — no. In fact, I’m quite certain that neither will you.
And I don’t mean: what will it feel like to be dead? Because I know the answer to that, too. It will feel exactly the same as it didn’t before I was born.
No, my question is a much more pragmatic one: what will they do with my body after I’ve cashed in my chips? How, pray tell, will they dispose of my mortal remains?
If I had my way, I’d go out in a high-speed, motorised fireball on my 97th birthday, yelling “Whoo hooo!” the whole way — and there wouldn’t be any pieces left to bury.
I imagine being stuffed and mounted in the living room would help ease the suffering of my loved ones.
But as I probably won’t get a say, or at least won’t be in any state to argue, I started considering the many ways I might be disposed of when my time is up.
I’m listing them below in order of desirability, knowing full-well my desires will cease to exist the moment my consciousness does. But nonetheless:
- Blaze of glory: High speed fireball. See above.
- Buried in the back yard: Like so many household pets before me, I could feed a tree. Or scare future landscapers.
- Taxidermy: I imagine being stuffed and mounted in the living room would help ease the suffering of my loved ones. It may also discourage Jehovah’s Witnesses from visiting.
- Turned into decorative beads: This is an actual thing. Apparently, South Koreans compress the remains of the dead person into gem-like beads in different colours which are then displayed at home. I’d prefer to be on a belly-button ring.
- Tibetan sky burial: Sounds very glamorous. Actually means being left outside to be eaten by vultures.
- Shot into space: This is the intergalactic Blaze of Glory. I imagine an eternally-grinning version of myself adrift in the solar system, confusing aliens.
- Shrunken head: I could become a seriously cool rear-view mirror ornament. And double as a theft deterrent.
- Made into a vinyl record: I have just learned about this. It’s very hipster. And I could give new meaning to the term “death metal”.
- Zombification: I don’t know if the technology exists yet, and it could scare the kids. Maybe not a great one.
- Cannibalisation: My least-preferred option.
Whatever happens, it’ll be happening without my vital organs and possibly a few bits of tissue. The donor option on my driver’s license should take care of that. I leave it to whoever is in charge of these things to handle the rest.
At this point, I’m guessing you’re considering your preferred method of burial. Perhaps a nice cremation or a good old-fashioned mummification? People can get pretty particular about how they want to be treated posthumously. For some reason, we seem to want control over our lives, even after they’ve ended.
But the truth is, you won’t really get a say in the matter.