July 13, 2004

Bury My Heart at Space Mountain

Last night I finalized the content on the SolidWorld web site (test copy) with Barry (the nice man who advanced me the $500 for my computer upgrade fiasco) as Melissa was seen by a doctor about her arm. She's in a black thumb & forearm brace now. (Melissa:"I call it my 'Fonzie Brace'. Thumbs up and 'Aaaaaayyy!'")

We stayed for dinner with her parents, Ron and Brenda. Over dinner, I mentioned that my friend Sam had found a web site called "FuneralDepot.com", where you could buy coffins with customized shrink-wrap graphics on them. Anything from sports team logos, to Raphael's "Two Angels" painting, to my personal favorite, a brown paper package with the "Return to Sender" stamp. Then Ron mentioned that the new thing in coffins was "bio-degradable" coffins.

"Bio-Degradable?" I asked. "Oh yes, they must be made of this revolutionary new material: WOOD! A square pine box, like the 1800's, but since it's now 'Bio-Degradable', it'll run you 20 grand."

"Well, *I* won't be buried at all," said Melissa. Something about my wife: She has this fear of coffins. It's an irrational fear, which is best described in the movie "Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead":

Rosencrantz: Did you ever think of yourself as actually dead, lying in a box with a lid on it?
Guildenstern: No.
Rosencrantz: Nor do I, really. It's silly to be depressed by it. I mean, one thinks of it like being alive in a box. One keeps forgetting to take into account the fact that one is dead, which should make all the difference, shouldn't it? I mean, you'd never *know* you were in a box, would you? It would be just like you were asleep in a box. Not that I'd like to sleep in a box, mind you. Not without any air. You'd wake up dead for a start, and then where would you be? In a box. That's the bit I don't like, frankly. That's why I don't think of it. Because you'd be helpless, wouldn't you? Stuffed in a box like that. I mean, you'd be in there forever, even taking into account the fact that you're dead. It isn't a pleasant thought. Especially if you're dead, really. Ask yourself, if I asked you straight off, "I'm going to stuff you in this box. Now, would you rather be alive or dead?" naturally, you'd prefer to be alive. Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, "Well, at least I'm not dead. In a minute somebody is going to bang on the lid, and tell me to come out." [bangs on lid] "Hey you! What's your name? Come out of there!"
Guildenstern: [long pause] I think I'm going to kill you.
Her fear, however irrational I may think it, is real, and I respect that. So Melissa made me promise long ago to follow some very specific burial wishes. First, I am to have her cremated, then put her remains in some large drink cups. Then I am to take those cups and, as unobtrusively as possible, scatter them in Walt Disney World. A little in the "It's A Small World" ride, a little in the graveyard in front of "The Haunted Mansion" (where, incidentally, some of her uncle's ashes were scattered years ago), a little around the castle, and a little on Main Street USA.

If any remains... ah... REMAIN, I am to charter a plane and scatter them over the DisneyWorld grounds by air. A tall order, to be certain, but surprisingly not an uncommon one. Melissa posted her wishes on a Disney Message board a few years back, and at least thirty other people confessed to quietly placing family members' ashes around DisneyWorld. Kind of creepy, when you think about all the Dead People Bits in some place billed as "The Happiest Place on Earth." Maybe human remains is the secret behind the park's incredible landscaping. ("Disney Green is made of PEOPLE!!!")

Back to the story, Melissa reiterated that she would never be buried in a box. Just to argue, I said "That's what YOU think," and gave a grin. She grinned back, but it wasn't the silly grin I sent her, it was the one that implied great suffering on my part, should I say that again.

Her eyes narrowed. "If you bury me, I would haunt you," she vowed. "You're young, you might re-marry. And I would haunt you at very inopportune times. PRIVATE times."

"Yeah, in the bathroom, with a magazine," offered Ron.

Now I'm only 30, and I've only been married for six years, but this is what showed my age: When Ron mentioned a private moment, me in the bathroom with a magazine, I did not picture what most people might have. I just saw myself, having my evening sit-down on the porcelain throne, with a copy of Reader's Digest. Honest to God.

I need to get out more.

After dinner, Melissa, Matthew and I packed into my green Taurus, which used to be Ron's company car. When he sold the Taurus to me, he got a gold Mercury Sable. A few months ago, they bought a new car for Brenda, and came home with another gold Sable. "Not the same," insisted Ron, "MY sable is gold, and Brenda's is Gold ASH. Kind of greenish, if you squint. Plus hers doesn't have the center console." But to any rational person, it appears that they have two identical gold Sables sitting in the driveway.

As I unlocking my car, I accidentally hit the lock button again, triggering a brief honk, telling me the car was securely locked. Ron, never missing an opportunity, grabbed both Sable key rings and proceeded to honk them alternately. "Oh, THAT's how you tell the cars apart," I said, "Brenda's horn is one note down from yours?"

Brenda gave me a look. We all kept harping on this issue because we knew she hated it. "That car was all we could afford," she said, pointing down the driveway, "so no, I don't care if it looks a lot like Ron's."

Ron gave a laugh. "Honey, That's MY car. Yours is over there."

No comments:

Post a Comment