Well, there I was. Off from work for a week and with a few hours to kill on a Tuesday. So, I decided to go casket-shopping. It’s one of those activities that you cannot wait to do when the need arises.
You might be surprised at the range of features and prices of caskets nowadays. I remember back in the 80s, when you might have had 3 or 4 models from which to choose in the funeral home “showroom”. Not the case anymore. In fact, I found less options and packages while shopping recently for a Toyota minivan.
I also learned that caskets are more than just a vessel for your rotting flesh. They are supposed to reflect the lifestyle in which you lived, or more accurately, the lifestyle in which you wishedyou lived. That’s right, you may have led a simple, spartan life while you were alive, but there’s no reason you cannot emulate an Egyptian pharaoh after you kick the bucket.
To that end, I present my top 3 choices for caskets (along with the verbatim copy from the funeral home catalog):
1. The Eldorado - Leave this word in style and opulence! Make your friends and enemies jealous with this sumptuous body-box! Your pall-bearers will gasp in awe as they grab onto solid gold handles, double-reinforced to prevent accidental dissembly and the subsequent humiliation that comes with crashing to the floor and spilling out onto the feet of your mourners. Also fully lined with cushy bunting to make your ascension to the pearly gates as comfy as possible. Remember, it’s not just the destination, it’s also the ride! Only $30,000.
2. The Arcadia - So, you’re not the outdoorsy type. In fact, fresh air gives you the hives. But that’s no reason to forego this all-terrain casket that just screams, "I wrestle bears in my spare time!" Made from gnarled mahogany, this full-sized beast of a casket weighs in at a massive 300lbs. requiring only the burliest of pall-bearers to carry it past your loved ones and into that SUV hearse you had to rent. And don’t forget, each of our Arcadia caskets are manufactured in the good ol’ USA by registered Libertarians and gun-lovers. A steal at $27,000.
3. The Porsche - Were you safe, conservative and pokey in life? Well, be fast and furious in death!Aerodynamically designed and crafted, this casket is built to move! And its interior can be had in “speeding-ticket red” or “midnight-rendezvous black”, the latter being particularly slimming for you full-figured cadavers. Other details include polished chrome hinges and handles, and at an additional cost, a racing stripe down the top. Mmmmm, racy! These bad boys are literally flying out of the showroom at a very reasonable $42,000.
I am at the dealership service department with my car again. I don’t want to say I’ve been here a lot, but one service associate recently named her baby after me and another just asked how my colonoscopy went.
Sorry. I have nothing if not time on my hands and it has got me thinking. Thinking about how the entire country, replete with the best-trained meteorologists money can buy, still puts their long-range forecast in the hands (paws?) of a portly, smelly rodent.
And the big irony here is that groundhogs are the least proficient underground-dwelling creatures when it comes to predicting the arrival of Spring (and remember folks, Spring arrives on March 20, despite what the critters say). But I digress.
Moles. That’s right, the tiny, blind mole with what looks like an open hand balanced on its nose is remarkably accurate at predicting weather trends. Remember the extremely high number of tornadoes hitting the midwest this Summer? The mole, Pittsburgh Paul, totally saw it coming. Now, if there was something called Mole Day, perhaps billions in property damage could have been averted.
Earthworms. Yes, those squishy things that look the same coming and going (and just where does the poop come out?) also are quite prescient weather-wise. The current drought in California? The earthworm, Eureka Eunice pointed its way years ago. Too bad that crow got to her first. Had that gone differently, perhaps celebrities would have avoided washing their Hummers during peak hours.
Pillbugs. Truth. The trilobite-looking, creepy-crawler has had a long history of correctly anticipating major changes in our atmosphere since, well, forever. Remember the Ice Age? Well, guess who came out of the ground to alert the people of the Great Western Hemisphere Land Mass of what was to come? Pillbugs, that’s who. Sadly, none of them were quaintly named because there were no cities or towns then. Or names, for that matter.
I’m not sure that you’re aware, given your busy schedule, but there was another mass shooting at a public facility a couple of days ago. Well, maybe “mass” is a slight exaggeration. I think only 3 or 4 people actually were killed if you don’t count the shooter.
Anyway, I am aware of your pro-gun opinions. Second Amendment, right to bear arms, defend oneself, and the like. Well, I just wanted to say that I’m in complete agreement. Part of the experience of living in a great, free-market state such as ours is taking our life into our hands each and every day as we go to school or go to the mall to buy a new pair of Uggs™. Furthermore, I am very aware that there are MANY countries where their citizens are not free to look death square in the eye when they go to the grocery store, and for them I feel nothing but profound sadness.
But we have to admit that the many shootings occurring recently are casting a somewhat gray pallor on this great country of ours. They are…the ultimate bummer. But how do we discourage them without barring our citizens from their God-given access to automatic, high capacity firearms — you know, for hunting squirrels and stuff?
To that I say, place the focus on the real villains here. Some say, “Guns don’t kill. People kill.” but that isn’t completely correct either, in my opinion. 99% of the person has NO role in a shooting. But the fingers? Now that’s a horse of a different color. That’s right. “Guns don’t kill. FINGERS kill.” So here’s my proposal:
Let’s dispense with the whole gun registry (which we all know doesn’t work), replace it with the FINGER Registry and take the firearms away from the fingers that would otherwise use them in the most unwholesome way imaginable. Heck, we can even register the fingers of teenagers. Well at least the middle ones.
So perhaps you will consider my idea and share it with your esteemed, likeminded colleagues during your next filibuster. I’m sure I would remember such action on the next Election Day. Whenever that is.
I’ve never been one to make a big deal about implementing a new desk calendar. For me, each year is an unequal mix of the good, the bad and the ugly and 2013 was no different. 2014 probably will be no different either (too? - who knows, grammar is hard).
So, I finally decided to completely eliminate all the New Year’s jazz in my little corner of the universe. As a result, I had to alter some of my social scripts. For example,
Bank Teller: Here’s your money, Mr. Leibowitz. And in small, unmarked bills just like you asked.
Me: Thank you.
Bank Teller: Happy New Year!
Me: And a Happy Wednesday to you, too!
Currently, my extreme attitude towards New Year’s has yet to catch on with the general public, but I am hoping that people will eventually become accustomed to it over time. I’m not so sure what I will do when New Year’s falls on something other than a Wednesday, however, but I believe I have time to work that out.
I don’t know if you follow these kind of things, but every year at this time, the chuckleheads at Tumblr create a list of Most Notable Tumblrs of the year.
I’m not surprised to see a large smattering of celebrity blogs on the list. After all, I do need to delude myself into thinking that celebrities want to form a real connection with me. Or even that the celebrities manage their own blogs at all. But what the heck, I still believe in Santa Claus and I’m Jewish.
Also expected are the art, photo and fashion blogs. And to that I give a resounding, MEH. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the talent, it’s just that I have so little of it myself.
But what seems to be missing every year are the sloppy, poorly organized and mildly entertaining (in a car-wreck sorta way) Tumblrs of schmos like you and me. Especially me. Which brings me to the much-delayed point of this whole thing…
I NEVER MAKE THIS DAMN LIST. I mean, I update my blog with the perfect formula of regularity (that is, often enough to remind you of my continuing presence, infrequently enough not to remind you of your geeky, younger brother). My posts are comprised of a focus group-approved combination of words, pictures, videos and music to ensure proper synergy but not overwhelm your senses. If you think this is easy, YOU find and pay a blog consultant like I do.
Nothing stresses me more than attempting to pack our car for an extended trip anywhere. This week we are going to my sister-in-law’s house in New Jersey. To help organize the chaos, I generally make a written list of what has to be loaded and then I place them in the car with Tetris-like precision. Here is the list for my current trip.
5 people, including 2 teenagers and one octogenarian. Each has their own seating requirements. Both teenagers (male and female) want to sit in the single 3rd row seat, so a Cage Match typically ensues about 10 minutes prior to the trip. My son has grown a bit since 2012, so I expect this year’s Battle Royale to last a little longer than last year’s 15-second melee (he’ll still lose rather handily, however, so that’s where the smart money goes). My mother-in-law needs to sit anywhere where there is no fresh air filtering in due to the fact that oxygen makes her cough repeatedly and uncontrollably. Usually we place her in an air-tight body bag before positioning her in her seat.
415 boxes of cookies for my sister-in-law to give to those people she doesn’t care enough about to give real gifts. It is a little-known fact that there are no bakeries in New Jersey. The State Constitution outlaws them, but allows backyard stills. She should give moonshine and leave me out of it.
6 trays of hot food my wife has made “so my sister doesn’t have to cook”, because the only thing my car lacks is a large cooking-oil stain in the shape of Jesus’ face on the carpeting. Oh, and a DVD player.
3 large suitcases, each large enough to hold my mother-in-law. Hmmm. I wonder if any oxygen can get in there….
Gifts for the family. Let me introduce everybody to the 21st Century and a little thing called “Overnight Shipping”. Where are the drones when you need them?
I’m in my shorts and tank-top, snuggling up with my family under the blanket, except we are not actually touching each other due to the sweat involved and the blanket is actually one of those fans attached to a water bottle.
We sing Christmas carols with our hands cradling mugs of hot chocolate, chilled to perfection. I cannot bite through the marshmallow floating within due to the fact that it is still frozen. I must remember to call the dentist right after the holidays.
Since we do not have a fireplace, we replicate that coziness by having our TV perpetually tuned to the Nature Channel, where we watch video loops of glaciers falling into the Bering Sea.
Outside, one of our neighbors takes their annual ride in a sleigh down our lane. Sadly, the ensuing friction of the metal blades against the dry pavement caused the entire thing to combust into a tower of flames.
It was a morning like any other. I was eating my cereal and drinking my coffee while reading the latest news on my beautiful tablet computer. When all of a sudden, I coughed up a combination of cereal and coffee all over the table and my beautiful tablet computer.
Just thought I would share this little slice of my life with all of you before the unfollowing begins.
That’s what I call my Costco visit the Saturday before Thanksgiving. But I’ve studied the martial arts and am well versed in self-defense. So I’m not afraid of a crowded shopping experience.
Or am I?
I knew I was in trouble when I first attempted to pull into the parking lot. Have you ever seen a demolition derby with cars wheeling around in random directions? What about shoppers diving for safety like Rodeo clowns? As for me, I actually was glad to have 2 tons of steel separating me from the rest of the crazed morons thinking we can actually get some shopping done today.
The experience inside the store was remarkably similar to the aforementioned experience in the parking lot. Except for the lack of motorized vehicles (unless you count people in motorized shopping carts…and you should). I don’t know what it is, but Costco shopping causes me to undergo some kind of reverse evolution where I revert to a more primitive form. I actually found myself intentionally crashing my cart into another that I felt was protruding into the aisle at more than an acceptable angle. I think this is how neanderthals shopped tens of thousands of years ago.
I tend to visit Costco at lunchtime, when it is less crowded (I know. I laughed when I typed that, too.). While this usually is a good strategy, the downside is that I start to get quite hungry at the 2/3 point. No matter; I’ll just visit one of those tasting stations, right? As I got closer to the Marinated Alaskan Wild Salmon kiosk (and man, did it smelled great), I was greeted by an exhausted “chef” who informed me it would be a full 15 minutes before another batch was made. Don’t worry, I don’t think they’ll find the body.
In the end, I managed to find approximately 98% of what was on my list (No shredded mozzarella or individual hummus packs?! Not cool, Costco). Perhaps it’s for the best. As it is, I now have to figure out how to tell my daughter that I just spent her next semester’s tuition at a pricey, private college. No matter; who needs higher education when you have 6 cases of baby wipes and no baby?