When I die, I want a tombstone like the one in the movie Beetlejuice. Never mind the orange writing…I would actual prefer something more menacing/threatening. I do like the brutal simplicity: here lies Jayson. That’s it and that’s all. No dates of birth or death, and no summary or eulogy at all. You’re either gonna know who I was or you won’t, and if you don’t, you’re going to wish you did just because of the coolness of the tombstone. But that’s what I want: an oversize vertical fuck-off monument with gargoyles and demons and shit hanging off of it. I want it to look scary as hell at night of course, but I want it to be an offense to the daylight. I want people who see it in the daylight to find it existentially incongruous, like It doesn’t seem like it should be able to even exist in the daylight, yet there is is.
So that’s the gravestone I want. But here’s the kicker: I won’t be lying there at all. Nothing will be buried there. I will have been cremated in some sort of Celtic funeral pyre. Maybe something like what they did with Darth Vader when he died. If I could be wearing the entire Darth Vader outfit, avec mask, that would be cool. Cremation makes sense to me: it’s noble, dignified, realistic, and efficient.
We do not handle death well here in the west. We seem to do everything we can to hide, it, sterilize it, cover it up, pretend it away at least for as long as “sanely” possible. We feel it is our right to let go and say goodbye when we are ready, and if that hadn’t happened when the person in question died, then we absolutely deserve another week or two to have chance to do what we should have been doing before the person died: telling them how much they meant to us. Of course, you can’t tell anybody anything after they’ve died, but we can fool ourselves long enough to make it psychologically acceptable. And this is extremely unhealthy, I think. The idea (let alone the process) of embalming the dead is both ghastly and ghoulish as are the open-casket funerals that follow. I endorse the Jewish and Muslim ideas of burial of the dead as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of death. Ironically, I differ from these religions’ prescriptions immediately after that as both Islam and Orthodox Judaism prohibit cremation. But the Sikhs pretty much insist on it. Good people, the Sikhs.
Anyway, that’s what I want: cremation on a pyre in full Darth Vader costume, and then a Beetlejuicesque grave stone claiming “here lies Jayson” pointing down to an empty grave (making the joke that saying Jayson lies there is actually Jayson lying about being there…get it? I’m so goddamn meta and clever). Ta-da.
N.P.: “Requiem – 2005 Remaster” – Killing Joke