Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Coffin resale values?

For reasons I won't go deeply into - beyond commenting that there seems to be a great deal of it about at the moment, I was having a Chat with Mrs Grumbler, her mother and her sister about death the other day.

It's odd, isn't it, that when the bony bloke with the scythe is expected to pay a call on someone you care about, you can still find things that are funny.

Where are you intending to spend eternity? Obviously, somewhere quiet is ideal, but where? Likely resting places for the ashes of our nearest and dearest included the sea (too much chance of being dragged up in a Spanish Trawlerman's net), outer space (already too crowded) and a jar on the mantle-piece from which you could forever imagine the nagging voice of an elderly relative complaining "It's bloody hot in here!" (ruled out by the still-living). Personally, for a guaranteed undisturbed eternity, I favour an urn placed behind a row of bottles of Alcohol-Free lager in any supermarket in the North East of England.

Then, we moved on to discussing appropriate music for a funeral service. The Lord's My Shepherd is very popular, I'm given to understand, but I have always rather fancied the idea of my mortal remains (some considerable time in the future) rolling away to the Stranglers' "No More Heroes". Pretentious, Moi? Apparently, the song which deceased persons request more than any other (presumably before the moment of their passing) is "Fire" by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Nice.

Then we got on to coffins. Great big wooden boxes, lined with padded silk, polished to perfection, and adorned with more gleaming brasswork that the collected front doors of the Royal Crescent in Bath. All for the purpose of conveying the recently departed into the fiery maw of the crematorium furnace. What (as Ian Dury sang, but in an entirely different context) A Waste.

Clearly, eco-friendliness suggests, no, demands, that such squandering of resources be stopped. But how to replace it? No-one wants to go to their eternal rest in a plastic bag and, in any case, these will soon join the list of objects banned in the UK along with Handguns, Cigarettes, Recreational Pharmaceuticals and Parmesan Cheese[1] and thus it will be illegal to possess, consume or traffic in them. On the grounds of taste, we wont discuss the disadvantages of paper bags.

But why shouldn't coffins be re-used? Tip out the contents and deal with as appropriate, then bung an ad in the local free paper. Give as much information as possible, as some folk are going to be (unaccountably) particular about this.

"Coffin for sale. Three previous owners (occupants?) - all old ladies. Only ever used for visits to Church. Supporting documentation available"

Proving, ultimately, that it doesn't matter whether you're flogging a box, or a Bentley - its vitally important to maintain a Service History if you want to minimise depreciation.

[1] Wishful thinking on my part, unfortunately. Detestable stuff.


Rowley said...

I'm going orange boxes myself, as they biodegrade quicker than the oranges themselves I'm in good stead. The resale value is low, so cheaper for the next person on.

A said...

Have you thought about the "name plate" on the coffin? Possible solution is an Etch-a-Sketch (sp?) so that names of each new occupant can be adorned appropriately.

Anonymous said...

I always wanted Jerusalem sung at my wedding and I threatened to provide our guests with a flag to wave.

After missing out on that, my remaining option seems to be my funeral (unless I trade in the current Mrs Anonymous of course).

"Bring me my chariot of fire"
Didn't really envisage a dustbin liner as my chariot.

Anonymous said...

We're missing out on the sponsorship potential which could cover the cost of the coffin in the first place.

Red Bull already sponsor go-karts made out of orange boxes so it seems a natural progression.

"Smoke with Malboro"

Anonymous said...