Human beings have kind of a sick obsession with dead bodies.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a monster, I get that the rapidly decaying, lifeless corpse over there used to belong to someone you had some fondness for. But at no point forward will that bio degrading fleshy mound of used ta was, ever do anything again that it used to do when previously possessed by the life force of who ever they aren’t anymore. Tickle it all you’d like, it ain’t never gonna giggle that unmistakable titter that you fell in love with. Call it by name, dangle it’s favorite bag of salty treats in front of it, it’s not going to pop up and suddenly begin recirculating all of your favorite bloods and give you a great big knowing hug. And if it DOES, run like hell for a stabbing or shooting utensil because your loved one is now zombified and it’s either you or it Jack!
The point I’m trying to make is this: the second your beloved friend, relative or lover breathes their last, the container they left behind that they used to drive around in to be recognizable to other things living in this plane of existence is no more them than the carton that the milk came in is going to help increase your bone density. You’re just left with an expensive bag of recycling. Feel free to mourn the person you’ve lost, but let’s try to be a little more reasonable about what remains, and treat it more like the ’74 Rambler that it is.
Now that I’ve angered and alienated most of you, let’s get to the two stories I found this morning about the uproar caused by the cremating of one barely dead (and mistaken) infant, and one already excessively dead Nazi…
Apparently, last year an Ohio funeral home made an isty bitsy boo boo and set alight the wrong dead baby, which, surprisingly, wasn’t met well by the guardians of said unintentionally reduced child shell. The story states that, due to a morgue mix up the body of a 14 month old was mistakenly released to the Marlan J. Gary Funeral Home, in stead of the 22 DAY old infant intended for a ride on the grill. And because the Funeral Home just cooked the baby they were given, they had their license suspended for six months.
This issue raises a lot of, what I feel are natural questions with me. Now, I’m no baby scientist, I’ve said that time and time again when ever someone runs up to me in a panic, desperately pleading for my expertise in baby science, so I feel it bears repeating: I’m no baby scientist, but I’m fairly certain that there is a decided difference between the density and general volume of the body of a one year and two month old child versus that of a three week and one day old child. I could go to Target right now and pick up a jumper with a tag that says “0-4 months” or something, and compare that to a pair of slacks in the “Pre-pre-pre School to Pre-pre School” section and likely not be surprised by the decided difference in expected sizes.
So, does a hearse just back up to a morgue, wait to hear the thump in the bed and drive off, or are there some sort of checks in place to make sure that not only is the morgue giving away the right dead baby, but that the funeral home is RECEIVING the right dead baby? Just the shere handling of the body seems like it would tip me off if I were a dead baby delivery man. If I’m delivering a deceased 22 day old, I expect I should be able to chuck that bitch in the back of a corpse limo with one hand. Just lob it in under hand and high five myself for another day of life more than that poor bastard. And if it took say, two hands and a little bit of heft, and I checked my clip board and it said “22 dayer” I would probably wonder if I had the right infant cadaver.
Conversely, if I were a crematorier, just thinking from a strictly business stand point, I imagine I use a different amount of fuel to burn the body of a 22 day old than I would for a 14 month old. So if I were intending to roast a 22 day old, put in a bag of 22 day older fuel and just tossed in what I thought was a 22 day old, I imagine if I were to come back later, I would likely find a good deal of 14 month old left uncrematized and wonder if my baby burning fuel supplier was fucking me over.
Aside from all of that obviousness, what gets me the most about the article is where is says:
“A hearing officer noted that cremation is irreversible and said funeral directors must take precautions to ‘get it right.’ ”
I doubt that most people need be reminded that reducing human remains to ash is awful difficult to undo. I’m certain that most of us didn’t think that cremation was just a fancy term for “dehydration” and that a body could just be returned to its former glory by simply splashing it with a Dixie cup of water.
Meanwhile, over in Germany in what seems like one of the more extreme promotional tie-ins I’ve seen for tomorrow’s release of Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger”; the bones of Rudolf Hess, one of Adolph Hitler’s deputies, were exhumed and cremated. Germans don’t quite get the collectible cup level of promotion, and you can’t tell them that they’re doing it wrong or they might murder millions of Jews.
It seems that, with the lease on Hess’ burial plot coming up for renewal in October, and with the grave site having become a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis, “Hess’ relatives and Lutheran church authorities in the town decided it was best to remove the remains.” And viola, no more neo-Nazis. Right?
“The grave is now empty,” said cemetery administrator Andreas Fabel. “The bones are gone.”
Soooo… neo-Nazis couldn’t still commune at the former grave site of their martyred hero?
They apparently “cremated the remains and scattered them secretly in a lake, whose name and location are not being divulged”, so in a way, they’ve sort of made just about anywhere a fair place to come together and celebrate the memory of Rudolf Hess. He’s now circulating in the water ways of Where Ever Germany, being carried out to sea, and floating about on the breeze. These short sighted Nazi haters have effectively dusted all of us with Nazi particles. Thanks, just what I needed, to breathe Nazi while I’m just minding my own business, hating just fine on my own thank you very much. I really have a hard time believing that neo-Nazis are so sentimental that they’re going to have any difficulty mustering up enough focused drive to gather for a hate fest just because the bones of one of their heroes, that they could never positively confirm or deny the existence of in the first place, might not be where they were last week.
But if it makes you feel any better Lutherans, congratulations, you just re-killed a dead Nazi. You won World War II. And you just spoiled the ending of “Captain America” for me, assholes!
In American culture, there are two widely accepted sky myth stories.
The first of which being that a a giant bearded dude who lives in the clouds said one day “This shit is dark yo, BOOMSHACKALACKA!” and then everything that is happened. Then he made people in his image and decided he didn’t like them and washed them away and started over and sent his kid to check out how it was going and he got stapled to a fence post before floating back up to home until he collected enough crowns and a horse to ride back down from the sky on.
The other popular yarn is that a half dozen decades ago some little space mans in an intergalactic circle were taking in the sights of lovely, scenic New Mexico when they ran out of illudium Q-36 explosive space modulators and broke down on the side of the road. The United States Military was then kind enough to construct them an airbase that they deny exists and built us iPods out of the wreckage.
Each crazy belief system has it’s ardent, devoted followers, and each were under attack this week by nerds.
A new book, “Area 51” by Annie Jacobsen claims that the craft that didn’t crash in Roswell was not in fact a group of drunken, joyriding frat aliens, but instead, a remote control Soviet Russia spy saucer built by Nazi scientists and filled with genetic experiments cooked up by Josef Mengele. Naturally. So we have gone from alien crash landing, to USSR Nazi crash landing “hoax” intended to freak us out “War of the Worlds” style.
Now, I understand that we and Russia were doing some crazy things back in the good ol’ days of black and white, and I get that Nazi’s had a whimsical sense of humor that was often a little heady and it was sometimes hard to see how throwing a Banana cream pie filled with genetically mutated astronauts at Nevada might be hilarious. The main problem with this argument though is trying to replace one fantastical, difficult to believe story, with another story that sounds like was left scribbled on a napkin by Quentin Tarantino after polishing off a plate of crystal meth and Draino lady fingers.
Since we’re clearly not being serious anymore, I’d like to offer my explanation for the Roswell Incident: a race of subterranean turtle people attempting to make contact with the surface world for the first time since sending their lone emissary nearly 2000 years prior with disastrous results, fashioned a land ship which burrowed up to the surface only to burst into flames and explode once being exposed to the atmosphere of the surface world. Fearing that no one would ever believe such a ridiculous story, the United States government, in co-operation with all other world leaders of the day decided it would be best to just tell the world aliens crash landed so as to not send the world’s population into a hysteria trying to dig down into the turtle people’s home and throw the planet into chaos.
Then we have Kirk Cameron. Some of you may remember Kirk as the dreamy Seaver boy on America’s existingest 80s sit-com “Growing Pains”. Since then he’s found god and wants you to know all about it. Oh, and he’s also kind of a lunatic. But he knows what he’s talking about, like most lunatics, and not just because he talks to god like, every day, or because he was already in the pretend rapture in the “Left Behind” movies, no, it’s because he’s not going to give jokes like Stephen Hawking a free ride like everyone else who’s afraid to stand up to him.
“To say anything negative about Stephen Hawking is like bullying a blind man. He has an unfair disadvantage, and that gives him a free pass on some of his absurd ideas.”
Now, to the first sentence, I’m not sure if Kirk thinks that blind people can’t walk, or that he’s also calling Mr. Hawking lazy for riding around in that chair all the time just ’cause he can’t see. And really, to say anything negative about someone else seems kind of un-Jesus like, and counter productive to a reasonable intellectual discussion. But what do I know? I just usually like to interact with human beings who exist in real life rather than spending all day sending telepathic love letters to a character in a story book.
But I think the more entertaining part of Kirk’s insult is the second half of that statement, that because of Mr. Hawking’s hysterical, debilitating blindness which has taken from him the use of just about everything but his eyes, he believes that because of his “unfair disadvantage” nobody calls him on his shit. Kirk Cameron is telling us that the scientific community has just accepted this man’s theories and lauded him as one of the most brilliant minds in the history of the world, because they don’t want to hurt his feelings.
This fountain of crazy continues:
“Professor Hawking is heralded as ‘the genius of Britain,’ yet he believes in the scientific impossibility that nothing created everything and that life sprang from non-life. Why should anyone believe Mr. Hawking’s writings if he cannot provide evidence for his unscientific belief that out of nothing, everything came?”
Always one of my favorite arguments. In this case Kirk calls into question Mr. Hawking’s beliefs, asking how anyone could buy his blind gibberish if he can’t prove any of it. What I don’t think Mr. Cameron understands is that, the bible, for all of it’s nice words and well meaning thought, is not a receipt for the universe. It’s a book. Unless I missed something, it’s as much proof of the existence of god and an afterlife as Mr. Hawking’s assertion that the afterlife is a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark”. Kirk saying it is doesn’t mean it is and his argument is that since Stephen Hawking can’t prove definitively exactly how the universe came into being that makes anything he ever says on the subject nothing more than the ravings of a perpetually pitied blind asshole. And when that’s the position you’re going to start this discussion from, where the hell do we possibly go from there?
So in the end, what do we have? We’re left with the choice between Alien visitation gone wrong or Soviet Nazi prank and the views of the existence of the universe as proposed by Stephen Hawking or not unproved sufficiently to Kirk Cameron. Who wins in any of these arguments? I mean, besides me that is, ’cause I can write about these kinds of crazy all day long.