Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Getting the Dead to shut up, already!

Slabs” Coletti, trade embalmer for a prominent funeral home in upstate NY, tells the Monitor that dead men talking is becoming a regular problem.
“No, seriously”, he said, washing up. “They used to say, ‘Dead men tell no tales’. That may have been the case years ago. Maybe the dead were raised with better manners then, like kids used to be. Like removing your hat indoors and respectin’ your elders, it’s gone the way of the wringer washer and meals-in-flight. Nowadays, everywhere you look, the dead are talking.” He pulled on the rubber gloves. “Or snitching. In ‘The Sopranos’, death seemed to make snitches out of everyone. In ‘Dr. G- Medical Examiner’, we have to learn how to hear what the dead are trying to say; in ‘Pushing Daisies’ we’re supposed to figure out why the dead talk in riddles.” Slabs is renowned as a prep room philosopher, who takes pride in his work. It’s common knowledge around Central New York that one can always tell when Slabs had done the embalming- you can lift the guy by his big toe.
Said “Slabs”, while cursing out his old aspirator, “It’s a wonder we can get a word in edgewise. It doesn’t matter what kind of life you’ve led; people are more inclined to listen if you talk when you’re dead. Frankly, this is nothing new in Chicago. The dead have been toiling tirelessly in politics for decades. ‘If yer well, vote; and if yer dead- don’t!’ has been as popular a phrase there as ‘Vote early and vote often!’ Now, any ordinary slob off the streets, whose entire allotment for expression is spent when he wears his tee-shirt proclaiming: “I’m with stupid!” (-That always leaves me wondering, who could be considered more stupid compared to that?”) -that jerk gets credit for trenchant insight; after he dies.”
To make things worse, the recent trade magazines have been touting the slogan, “Every life creates memories- Vidstone© creates a legacy.” When asked by the Monitor what he thought of the newest innovation in the monument industry, “Slabs” only became more animated. “See, there’s just what I was complainin’ about!” he said, waving the trocar. “It’s a talking headstone,” he sputtered. Actually, to be specific, it was “the only solar-powered weather proof tribute player” according to the magazine.
Closer examination revealed a small TV screen affixed to a granite monument, documenting a sanitized, scrubbed clean and majestically scored biography of the dearly departed. Any digital video could be recorded on it, for the benefit of future generations.
“Now that’s just what we need. Have you ever watched kids in a Wal-Mart when their moms aren’t around? What’s the first thing they do? They push all the buttons on the talking toys and run away! Now picture those same errant youths let loose in a cemetery full of talking tombstones.” “How long did it take those hackers to break the iPhone? How long do you think it would take before some computer prankster has Uncle Aloysius intoning, ‘My baloney has a first name; it’s O-S-C-A-R….’?”
While this paper would no doubt enjoy the lively new advertisements that would likely arise from just such an innovation taking hold (i.e.: “Kids, lets all go to the cemetery and watch the iTomb, don't forget to bring your headphones.... Apple™® and iTomb™® are both registered trademarks of Apple Corporation. ©2008- All of Eternity. All souls reserved”), it is the opinion of the editorial staff that it is unlikely folks are going want to think, after hearing their Unka Al hawk hotdogs, “Gee, that’s the funniest he’s ever been”.
“Slabs” summed up the situation the best he could. “Apparently, Vidstone© anticipates future generations continuing to have ever-shrinking spans of attention, because they thoughtfully included a fast-forward button”, he said. “That’s for when you really want to hear ‘The end is near’”!

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