And then the very next day, Fritz brings in the mail. Which includes, among bills and bank statements, a letter.
From our local mortuary.
Fritz flaps the unopened envelope down on my desk. He says, "What's the deal? Do they have some kind of link-up with the lab? Like - hey, psst, this guy might be in the market for, you know, your services . . . "
HO . . . HO . . . HO . . . (So, we're laughing, okay? Satisfied?)
Of course, it's not an advertisement. That would be crass. That would be crude. Oh, no, this is a survey in very tactful, even mealy-mouthed, nigh unto unctuous terms. Our local mortuary wants to know if there are any honorably discharged veterans in my household - certainly there would be no dishonorable ones. They assure me they are "sensitive, caring and professional" (emphasis added to show texture) who stand ready to help me with "one of the hardest things a family has to face . . . the death of a loved one."
(Actually, I can think of harder things. Death and loss of someone you love - that's sad. But betrayal and hatred and vileness - that could be worse. And also why is it that "loved ones" are always either dead or the ones you, dying, are going to leave behind? And would it be less traumatic to plan the funeral of someone not loved so much - say, a vampirish parent who's been battening on you all your life? or a vile spouse who digs each day to cut the ground out from under your feet? or a sister you've betrayed? or a cousin you've just never been able to stand? Would that kind of funeral planning be fun in any way other than the ghoulish?)
"Thank you for your valuable feedback."
Well, anyway, there is something this side of the grave in it for us if we respond. Yes, it's true! The advantages are not all post-mortem. Act now and get something -
FREE! For taking a few minutes of your time to respond to our survey, we'd like you to have 'My Final Wishes Organizer' . . . Absolutely Free!
Now that I might be interested in - some place I can sit down and really prioritize all My Final Wishes - just in case the Blue Fairy gets around to me in time. Because it has been rather a worry for me that I may, in the hectic moment, wish in a more sausage-on-the-nose sort of way. But not now, not if I can get those wishes organized!
Our local mortuary believes I might want to deeply ponder these compelling questions, which I must admit, have never occupied my mind before, i.e. :
- Are you aware that prepaid funeral plans exist?
- Have you ever considered a prepaid funeral plan?
- How much might you expect to pay for a funeral?
- Do you maintain up-to-date biographical information and accurate family records to assist you or a loved on with funeral planning?
- In the event of your death, who would be responsible for making the arrangements?
- Would it give you peace of mind to know that you could do the planning in advance and that your family would not have to make these arrangements themselves?
You know what I want to see, MORTALITY?
Not this namby-pamby, passive-aggressive, marketing-wolf in public-service-clothing. I want a slick, full-color ad with all the most gorgeous, satin-lined, bells-and-whistles, singing-when-it-opens, LED video display, steel-vault caskets in my choice of a 47 colors . . . I want the hard-ball, hard-sell soft-soap. And lots of social guilt.
You wouldn't want to be stuck in the ground like this, would you? What would the cousins think? Or the neighbors? Or the breathless media? Create beautiful memories. Achieve at last what life never gave. Try every single one of our full line of Deluxe Delightful Delicious . . .
And moreover, I want highly retouched photos full of golden afternoon glow and at the center of it all a glamorously representative Loved One, looking better than any of us have alive, laid out in full panoply. And meanwhile cherubic grandchildren (ringlets, cowlicks, and dimpled knees) peeping over the edge of the glory-box to see Gramma (or Grampa - at this height of glamour they'd be nearly interchangeable) looking so pretty. And distinguished adult children to gaze fondly over the puffed-sleeve cherubic shoulders, smilingly wiping away a few unpainful tears.
And I want testimonials from satisfied customers from the other side.
Otherwise, MORTALITY, I'm not buying.