An Offer I Can Refuse

Linda Vernon

Linda Vernon

I noticed I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately.  I guess because I’m getting older and the future isn’t as wide open and expansive as it used to be.

It’s like I’m reaching the crest of the hill of life, whereupon it’s all downhill from here on out.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the ride down that hill (in a car without any brakes) to one’s final destination (a drop off to the unknown) isn’t fun, as such.

I’m just saying that once you’re hurtling down that hill in the Death Car of Life, the scenery is going by way too fast.  Which is ironic because when you get older, you tend to want to go slower and dwell on the details of living ad nauseam, like noticing the health of shrubbery, or caring deeply about the quality of the current garbage service or taking time to obsess over whether or not the checker overcharged you for that ham.

Lately, it seems like every time I go to my mailbox there’s an advertiser that just can’t wait to tell me about the great deal they have for me concerning my impending demise. It’s usually some insurance company who is happily offering to make me feel better about dying by taking a lot of money from me now, so that in the future when I die, they can give a little bit of it back to my favorite relative.

Today I got something in the mail from a “cremation society.”  Apparently this cremation society isn’t really a society at all.   For instance, it isn’t the kind of society where there’s regular meetings or anything of that nature (probably due to the fact that all its members are dead). But, instead, it’s a society that is asking me if I wouldn’t mind giving them dibs on my vessel when it becomes empty and paying them for it right now.

According to this cremation society, there are lots and lots of wonderful  reasons why you need to  pre-purchase your funeral pyre.  Let’s take a closer look at what this cremation society says those reasons are, shall we?

1) Being cremated is convenient!

 If you pay for your cremation now, perhaps when you die, one of your  family members (whoever gets the shortest straw) can simply go to the cremation society drive-thru window, pick up your ashes and set you on the book shelf until the next family reunion — where you will be lovingly lugged along and incorporated into the prayer before the potluck lunch is served.

Upside:  It’s convenient as all get out.

Downside:  Alive or dead, you’ll have to attend the next family reunion.

2)  Cremation is much less expensive and has less impact on the environment!

 Now how can anybody say no to less expensive and to a better environment?  Well, unfortunately, there’s not any group of people on earth who could care less about the environment than those who have already left the environment to go to a “better place.”

 Downside:  It’s so cheap you might even have to pay for it yourself.

 Upside:  Hey!! Lookee me!  I’m recyclable!

3) It allows families to provide a dignified resting place to memorialize their loved one!

Just what is the cremation society trying to imply?  Are they trying to imply that your current plan — to give Great Granddaddy, Mortimer, the ol’ heave ho on your next Carnival Cruise — isn’t a dignified enough resting place?

Upside:  Oh yeah?

Downside:  Just watch you!

Listen “cremation society,” I don’t care how convenient you are, how cheap you are or how good the “recycled me” will make the shrubbery  look.  Nice try but no cigar ashes.   I will, however, seriously entertain any proposal I get in my mailbox that offers me a good deal on fixing the brakes on my Death Car of Life — providing they have good Yelp reviews, of course.


Linda Vernon is a humor writer who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and her Yorkshire terrier, Cha, who she plans to hire out as a toupee if the economy takes a turn for the worse. In her spare time, Linda enjoys writing paragraphs about herself in third person (ha ha), and taking dressage lessons on her retired racehorse, Sedentariat.

Linda Vernon’s writing has appeared in various newspapers around California including The San Jose Mercury News, The Oakland Tribune and The San Diego Union Tribune. She is also a past Grand Prize Winner of the infamous Bulwer Lytton Fiction contest (it was a dark and stormy night. . .) where writers vie for the dishonor of writing the worst beginning sentence to an imaginary novel. Visit her blog:


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