Oceans Of Death
by Rob Cottignies
A bunch of years ago, in a place that is approximately 5,794 miles from where I am sitting, Pyramids were erected. Yes, I said erected. These massive structures were each built for one dead ruler, who was wrapped up and shut into a secret room filled with riches. How was the room secret? Well, slaves were mainly responsible for building the Pyramids, burying the pharaoh within, then booby (huh huh, booby)-trapping the rooms and halls on their way out to prevent thieves from entering the tomb. These slaves and other unlucky workers were then violently murdered and thrown into mass graves, which were a fraction of the size of a Pyramid and held hundreds of bodies. Isn't my blog full of fascinating information? Too bad nobody reads it.
Anyway, it was eventually decided that neither of these methods was acceptable- hundreds in a mass grave or a giant tomb for one guy. So cemeteries, which are an odd combination of the two, came to be. My point here is that cemeteries have also run their course.
Now, the etymology of 'cemetery' is all Greek to me, but Wikipedia describes a cemetery as 'a spatially defined area where the remains of dead people are buried'. The remains of dead people. This, to me, sounds a lot like rotting flesh and a gathering of bones which could be fashioned into weapons for hunting bison. Instead, this is all just… below ground. What is the point?
Some people find solace in visiting the graves of their fallen loved ones. Some people also smear peanut butter on their genitalia and allow their dogs to lick it off. Just because it feels good doesn’t mean it’s right.
So what happens after death? It's difficult to find writing on this topic but some that I've found allude to things called souls and thetans and places such as heaven, Chuck E Cheese, and nirvana, even though that's a state of being as opposed to an invisible location. Believe what you will but know this one fact- Upon the cease of bodily life, many many people pay many many dollars for many many loved ones to be inserted into an expensive box which will be lowered into the ground and covered with soil, never to be seen again. What a archaic, pointlessly depressing, ugly ritual that renders the land useless.
You're looking for a solution to this disaster, correct? Of course you are and of course I have one. A very simple one which some cultures already embrace and on which these folks have improved the idea. Get ground up and planted as a tree! Can you sit under a tombstone and read? Can you fall out of a plot marker? Does a mausoleum go through photosynthesis, thus creating life-giving oxygen for live people to breathe?
Is that idea a little too hippie and ideal for you? Then have a Viking funeral! That's what I want, should I become a corpse. I'm not a Viking but I'm also not a cranky old Jewish man yet I use words like ‘chutzpah’ and ‘shmutz’. Bad analogy; I care. For a Viking funeral, the body in question is placed on some sort of craft made from wood and tastefully decorated by loved ones and adoring fans. Craft and body are then set ablaze, on fire, ENGULFED BY FLAMES. Craft and body and fire are then pushed off to sea and observed until all are consumed. Then, possibly and hopefully, there is a wild beach party in the deceased's honor. Wood from the Earth, open air, fire, and water releasing a spirit to wherever spirits go. All five elements. Wonderful.
Is that too Anglo-Saxon for you? Then just volunteer for your body to be eaten by something. I actually wrote that as an alternative but as an insult it's not a bad suggestion if you'd like to go do that right now.
As with any brilliantly flawless and spectacular idea, there is a downside to cemetery elimination- loss of jobs. Sure, greenskeepers could find other work, but what about funeral directors, their employees, and headstone makers? Well, they could learn another trade. This is the 90s, after all. Also, certain florists could lose considerable business. What they could do is hire writers to petition Hallmark to invent another holiday like they did with Valentine’s Day to boost their floral sales. See, I think of everyone.
And speaking of flowers, how much death does a cemetery need to consume? Weeping people lay flowers six feet above their relative or friend's rotting corpse, and what happens to the flowers? They become rotting flora-corpses. The same thing happens to all of the arrangements delivered to funeral homes. The death of one human causes other humans to kill hundreds if not thousands of plants. Zennists believe in balance. This is a great example of the opposite.
My big question is, 'What will happen when there's no more room for dead people?' It must happen eventually; Earth’s population is only going to increase. Don't tell me they're going to keep adding cemeteries until the world is clad with rocks listing people's names and some numbers. But what’s the alternative? Dig people up and replace them? Who decides this? Instead of nonsense, use this land productively. Housing of some kind, a social gathering place filled with bonfire pits, a field somehow used to discipline rude children; there are lots of ideas. 'Oh, but if we dig up the bodies to reuse the land, whatever we put there will be haunted.' Shut up. You're a superstitious moron who should be thrown into a volcano. Hey, there's another nice alternative to cemeteries!
What would you want done with your Earthly body should you become so intelligent that you no longer have a use for it?
I've already answered this. Pay attention.
This may be unrelated, but would you consider a job as an executioner?
How do you know about random things like Zen and pyramid-building?
Read a book.
How great are Vikings?
Like, really great.