‘No fuss, low cost cremation’ said the advert.
‘Make funerals less of an undertaking” implores another.
“How was your Nan’s funeral?”
“Well it was a bit of a *fucking* undertaking to be honest with you. I was looking for something a bit more no-frills but unfortunately the market has been cornerned by expensive, old fashioned, dignified funeral providers.”
Yes, that’s what we’re really lacking – that’s the niche in the market waiting to be conquered; the low-budget funeral. The Ryanair of the graveyard; the PoundStretchers of the crematorium. Because there’s no need for a funeral to be expensive, is there? In practical terms all that you are doing is transporting a dead body and either burying it in a hole or setting fire to it. I mean, how expensive can that be? I suppose for the sake of decorum the body should be hidden from view – but that can be achieved by a cardboard box – or a simple body-bag. And a hearse is just an estate car with the back seats down when all’s said and done. Dispensing with any kind of ceremony (time is money after all), you could just as well chuck the corpse into a landfill site to save on expensive hole-digging, or make your own crematorium oven with a couple of barbecues pushed together. Tradition is all well and good..for those who can afford it, but some of us have bills to pay.
And while we’re at it, we could generate some up-stream savings during the expensive business of removing the body from the person’s house and transporting it to the chapel of rest, embalming it, dressing it and preparing it for burial or cremation. Wouldn’t it be much better if those close to death were simply provisioned with a coffin sized box next to their death-bed, perhaps filled with a combination of strong acids and compost-maker? At the appropriate moment they could simply topple off into the allocated death-box (which could have a handy, self-closing lid) which could then be trundled on its built in wheels to the front door by their nearest and dearest before being collected every third Tuesday of the month by the binmen. Now that’s what I call an efficient funeral!
Because it’s silly to be sentimental about death, isn’t it. It’s only a physical process. We don’t need to attach any ritual or ceremony to it – just toss the body away and let’s all get on with what we were doing! Best not to think about it at all until the binmen one day call for us.
What’s that – assisted dying? Well what’s the problem with that? Everyone’s got a right to choose haven’t they? Surely if – God forbid – poorly Grandpa should choose (in the face of all our pleading) that what he wanted to do was to use his future care costs for his grandchildren’s university costs, he should be entitled to? What’s the point of living when you’re so old and ill anyway? I mean, that’s for him to decide, obviously – that goes without saying….but care homes are very expensive you know…and it’s only really delaying the inevitable. It’s a case of diminishing returns when you try and fix an old body – like an old car really.
Wait, I’ve cracked it! Why don’t we save both on funeral costs and end of life care costs by making death just a part – probably the final part – of everyone’s retirement party? “Thank you Derek for your tireless service to the company over the last 40 years. Here is a small carriage clock as a token of our appreciation. Now please put this sack over your head and kneel down next to the photocopier.”