Tag Archives: death

Big Box Store

In my house we cling to the quaint old habit of reading stories to each other from the newspaper.

“Hmmm…It says here that Wal-Mart’s now selling caskets.”

My wife Ann nearly did a Danny Thomas spit take. She knew what I was thinking.

“I swear to God if you buy me at coffin at WalMart I’m going to come back and haunt you.”

big box

We’ve had this conversation before. To me a box is a box and since I’d sort of prefer to be cremated putting me in an expensive piece of furniture seems like a terrible waste. I’d be OK with a cardboard container or a Hefty bag or something. It’s been made clear that is she goes before I do -which is statistically improbable- she expects the best of everything: beautiful coffin, well-appointed funeral home, harpist…

“You get mad at me because I won’t use coupons at Price Chopper. —and now you don’t want me to shop around for something expensive like a funeral?”

Cue the stare.

I don’t believe in ghosts, but just in case I’d better pay attention to her wishes. By the way —I wonder if you buy one of those coffins they can pack your other purchases inside? Shipping an empty box also seems wasteful.

Wal-Mart: The Big Box Store

In my house we cling to the quaint old habit of reading stories to each other from the newspaper.

“Hmmm…It says here that Wal-Mart’s now selling caskets.”

My wife Ann nearly did a Danny Thomas spit take. She knew what I was thinking.

“I swear to God if you buy me at coffin at WalMart I’m going to come back and haunt you.”

big box

We’ve had this conversation before. To me a box is a box and since I’d sort of prefer to be cremated putting me in an expensive piece of furniture seems like a terrible waste. I’d be OK with a cardboard container or a Hefty bag or something. It’s been made clear that is she goes before I do -which is statistically improbable- she expects the best of everything: beautiful coffin, well-appointed funeral home, harpist…

“You get mad at me because I won’t use coupons at Price Chopper. —and now you don’t want me to shop around for something expensive like a funeral?”

Cue the stare.

I don’t believe in ghosts, but just in case I’d better pay attention to her wishes. By the way —I wonder if you buy one of those coffins they can pack your other purchases inside? Shipping an empty box also seems wasteful.

Rude Awakening

It’s well documented that heart attacks kill more firefighters than fires, but I’ve been wondering  how many of those deaths are caused by pagers going off in the middle of the night.

You have never been jolted out of a deep sleep until you’ve been awakened by the Motorola pagers we use to tell us there’s an alarm. Maybe having an Australian Shepherd jump on your head is comparable , but that’s a story for another day. The video below gives you an idea of the sound you hear when there’s a call. Turn your speakers ALL THE WAY UP for the full effect:

That would get your sorry butt out of bed, wouldn’t it?

The good news: the second that pager beeps I am responding to a call. So if it goes off and I stand up and keel over dead or fall down the stairs or something it’s considered a line of duty death. In that case I’ll be entitled to the big fancy firefighter funeral —but unfortunately I’ll be way too dead to enjoy it.

Got a Light?

You can buy a Zippo lighter for about $15 —but this one can’t be replaced. It belonged to my father.

He died in 1990 at 62-years-old. That’s too young. Smoking cigarettes probably had something to do with it and a lot of those cigarettes were lit with this lighter. You might feel that makes for an inappropriate memento, but that’s really reading too much into things. Believe it or not, smoking was once viewed as normal in America and smokers were not shunned, forced outdoors, or demonized the way they are today.

The lid on my dad’s lighter is a bit wobbly and I’m concerned it will fall off, so I’m thinking I might wrap it up and mail it back to Zippo. In Bradford, Pennsylvania, where they are are manufactured, Zippo has a special corner of the plant where they do nothing but repair their products. Unlike us, the Zippo Windproof Lighter carries a lifetime guarantee.

The Irish Sports Page

In our house we’ve fallen into the morning ritual of scanning the obits. As people always have we look for folks we know personally or their families —or try to connect the dots where six feet under meet six degrees of separation. But there’s also something else:  we search for people close to our own age. 

“Look…this woman was only 45.”

“Cancer?”

“Cancer. And they’re having her wake at New Comer-Cannon. Whatever you do don’t take me to New Comer-Cannon.” 

My wife, Ann, views New Comer-Cannon as the McDonald’s of funeral homes. Me? I couldn’t care if you take me to the animal shelter and have me cremated. According to their website they’ll do items up to 200 pounds for just for $150. That sounds like a good deal to me.

The main thing we want to see is what killed these middle age people. Some obits come right and say how they died while others make you look and see if the family’s requested contributions to fight cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and the like. I’m thinking of asking in my obit that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Sophie Cameron Trust. That will really make people wonder. “Suddenly” can be a frustrating word to find in obituaries because could it just as well be a heart attack or brain embolism as a car accident. 

Anyway, I’d like to recommend that you take some time this week to write your own obituary. You never know when you’re going to go and it will be one less thing for your family to deal with when you do. You can’t control what kills you, but for once you can control what gets printed in the paper.