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...and guess what?

You could have done it a LOT cheaper. The simple fact is that funeral directors take advantage of your grief and know that you're not likely to haggle. They try to imply that you didn't really care about the departed if you buy that simple wood coffin, that if you REALLY loved him you'd get the deluxe bronze, sealed casket with genuine silk lining and four-channel stereo. Then, there's our time honored tradition of renting the funeral parlor for two to four days, to make sure that all the people who couldn't stand him in life can come and tell you what a great guy he was. The LAST thing I'd want is a bunch of people who never liked me standing around talking about how "natural" I look. To quote George Carlin, I won't look natural, I'll look dead. Funeral home owners are rich simply because we can't say no through our grief, and get suckered in by their well-rehearsed sales pitch. It's perfectly natural for us to bury our loved ones and send them back to the Earth. We can cremate them. We can bury them at sea. It makes no sense to preserve them inside a sealed, ornate sarcophagus that sets us back thousands of dollars, put them on display for a few days, and drive them around town in a Cadillac station wagon before we bury them. I've lost people in my life, from seeing my best friend shot down and killed right in front of me in Vietnam to burying my mother when she died after a long illness. In the first case I never even saw his remains, in the latter we did the traditional three day "Gee, doesn't she look good" nonsense while people who hadn't seen her in ten years showed up. Trust me, the pain and mourning are not diminished by sitting around with a dead body for three days and then handing a few thousand over to the funeral director. We could ALL learn a lesson from Orthodox Jews. The coffin must be biodegradable and they have to be in the ground before the next sundown, if possible.

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