Buying The Box
BEING A FRIEND IS NOT ALWAYS EASY. At times it can be downright macabre (For those of you with a public school education post 1960 – Macabre = spooky.). At other times being a friend can be…indescribable.
Let me explain.
A few days ago an old friend asked me to accompany him while he went shopping. When I asked him what it was that he was looking to buy he replied, “A casket.” He wanted to arrange for his own funeral now so that his family would be spared that task when he died. He is not ill or planning on taking a dirt nap any time soon. He was trying to be responsible and to hopefully save a few bucks.
“I want to do this my way, and if I do it now the prices are locked in and cannot be raised – something my heirs will appreciate I’m sure.”
At the funeral home of his choice we met with a very nice and soft spoken lady whose job is to walk us through it all. I think I was there to give my friend someone to bounce things off of. He later told me that he was afraid that he might start making tacky jokes. I told him that was my job.
It all started off with about twenty minutes of the nice lady trolling for information – personal data, requests, and, oddly enough, his favorite color. While he was there planning his funeral I had the uneasy feeling that she was looking for a date.
Then came the big moment – time to pick out his casket. She escorted us to another room that was chock full of caskets. Some were made of Metal – Steel, Bronze, Copper, and one that looked like Pink Tin. There were also some made of wood, but none that looked like caskets you see in cowboy movies. I think that is what my friend was looking for. He was a big fan of Bonanza. He was looking a bit stunned.
“My God, they are all so expensive. The cheapest one in here is $3000 Dollars.”
His budget was being strained already and he didn’t even have a hole to stick himself into yet. He looked at me and said, “There must be someplace cheaper, Krafty.” I told him the first thing that came into my mind.
He laughed and the lady giggled. Things did loosen up after that awkward moment …or fell apart depending on your point of view. I think that the funeral home, looking for a date, lady could see a big sale dissolving right in front of her.
“Well,” she said, “There is a wide range in the hardware and accessories options that might help whittle down the cost. What kind of accessories did you have in mind?”
He looked at me again with a twinkle in his eye. I knew that this was going to be good. He turned back to her. I could see that she was bracing herself.
“Accessories? Well, I’m planning on the service itself to be a long one, so maybe…Cupholders?”
Sometimes, no matter how important things may be, you just know that it is time to cut and run.
Hopefully my friend will live a long and fruitful life. When he does at long last shuffle off his mortal coil his family is going to be in for a bit of a shock when they see him in his IKEA casket complete with cupholders. They might be shocked, but they will not be surprised – they know him.