Monday, July 14, 2008

Corpse in a Can

Frederic J. Baur, the designer of the Pringles potato chip died recently. While I rarely eat Pringles, I admit to enjoying them when I do. But Mr. Baur has earned my respect not for his chip but for his decision to have his cremated remains stored in a Pringles can.

I can’t tell you why I love this idea, but I do. And it got me thinking: In what kind of container would I like to be buried?

While I understand the egalitarian rationale behind Judaism’s insistence that one be buried in a plain pine box, doing so is boring. Why not put some creativity into it?

So the question becomes: Into what kind of container shall I place my ashes? I am assuming cremation because this allows for the widest range of container options, but I must state unequivocally that I am equivocating on the issue of cremation itself.

I used to be a firm believer in cremation, but I have read recently that cremation is far more damaging to the environment than is traditional burial, releasing gases in the cremation process that contribute to global warming. I am already a major producer of methane gas, so I may not opt for cremation in the end, but for argument’s sake, let’s assume I do. Where would I want my ashes stored?

The first container that comes to mind is the original 1984 version of the Macintosh computer. I owned one of the first Macs to be produced and loved it. Unfortunately I passed it on when the next generation Mac came out, so I will have to look elsewhere for a suitable container.

Books are the centerpiece of my life, so I could have myself buried in a book. Which book? It would be a toss up between Ecclesiastes and the Tao Te Ching.

I watch a lot of television, so maybe I should be buried in one of those. I have an old TV with a built in VCR. I could make a VHS tape about my life and what I believe, and have it play over and over again with my ashes inside the television itself.

Then again, I walk five miles every morning, so maybe I should place my remains in a pair of New Balance running shoes and have strung over an electric power line so that people might wonder who is walking around without his shoes never suspecting that I am still in them. Or how about being buried in an enchilada? I love Mexican food.

The more I think about this the more items I can imagine. Perhaps I should spread my ashes out into a whole host of products and keep them all in a mausoleum where people could come and browse. There would be a souvenir shop next door where you could buy replicas of my ashes in various products. This idea appeals to me the most, and I will pursue it. I can see a chain of Rami’s Remains stores across the country. Our motto might be Don’t Get Left Behind, Choose to Stay Behind.

While I work out the details of my burial, I invite you to add your own ideal burial containers in the comments section of this blog.


Karen said...

I'm not sure I want to be "contained." I'd rather absorb back into the earth as quickly as possible. Maybe my ashes could be mulch for some stunningly beautiful flowers!

Patti said...

That is hilarious!!

I own a jewelry design business. I think I should be split up into lots of jewelry boxes and given to my friends and family on their next birthday. Then they can all guess at which parts they got! I wouldn't actually have to be cremated to do this either! I am cracking myself up here...

Thanks for the fun.

AaronHerschel said...

I think I agree with Karen. Assuming that my body hasn't been rendered somehow poisonous by the chemicals and preservatives I eat, I too would like to be reabsorbed into the earth. Like Whitman, I would like to say: "Look for me under your bootsoles. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, but I will be good health to you nonetheless."

Peter Schogol said...

I want my cremated remains added to a bag of Gardeners Supply Company organic fertilizer (hell, I made half that crap anyway) so I can come up with my tomatoes.