Yesterday's San Diego Union Tribune (Sunday, January 8th, 2006) really outdid itself with a host of wretched articles. The one that got Ray was the one about how married couples that choose not to have kids, are going against god's will. I didn't know god had a will. I'll have to read it sometime and see what I inherited. Oh, that's right. The meek inherited the earth. Anyway, to think that the all-powerful really gives a damn about whether or not we breed seems quite absurd. (Some Christian friends, however, didn't see what I had a problem with.) And I guess they don't use birth control? Pretty amazing that they only have one or two or three kids. Oh well.
That wasn't even what I came here for. I came here to talk about the Currents section. It was about gravestones and how now is a "great time to die" because of all the options one has outside of a simple stone and a casket. There was the futuristic gravestone recording. For only a couple thousand bucks you could create a video that plays after you die, every time someone comes to throw some flowers at your grave (or in the case of my cousin's grandma, when they come to leave broomsticks and garbage). I guess if you wanted real entertainment you could visit the graveyard at night and pretend you were at a drive-in theater. You could go from stone to stone and have a free show!
Then there was the giant stone this family chose. One side was for the husband's info and a little mini shrine; the wife got her own on the other side. The best part was the life sized image of the two of them in each other's arms, laser-etched into a stone for eternity. Of course, the husband died young, and the widow was standing there in front of the monument (yes, life-size). I wonder what happens when this young lady remarries? Will they etch a stone of her new husband, reaching out for her hand from the other side of the monument? Argh!
The best (or worst), though, was the headstone of a little boy. Okay, his picture was etched, too. But that wasn't the eye-catcher. No, the most prominent thing on the stone was the colorized Sponge Bob. Oh my god. Please don't make Sponge Bob the eternal friend of your son. Was he really that bad of a kid? Why not just write "I was a bad boy and suffer eternity in the hellish company of a talking, pant-wearing SPONGE."
I think about death, and after reading this book (Stiff: The Curious Life of Cadavers, by Mary Roach) I am considering more carefully the specifics of my post-mortem experience. Really, it doesn't matter because I'll be dead. As I try to go past the organ donation and cremation, though, I realize I need to be a little more specific about my "cremains". To sprinkle, to store, to bake in a cake...just please no etched markers with Sound of Music lyrics, or even better, me reaching out to Julie Andrews as she plays the guitar. (And if it's that, I want the whole hill from the Austrian Alps under my larger-than-life monument.)