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The Living End

"Wanna play?"
"Wanna play?"

My boss mentioned to me recently that Wal-Mart is now selling caskets. It got me to thinking: Didn’t Sears try to do the ol’ cradle-to-grave routine a number of years ago, only to have to chalk it all up to a serious learning curve. And the moral of the story? Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

While we’re on the subject of death, did I mention that I intend to be frugal to the very end? No? Well I’ve often told my family that they should bloody well save their money and have me cremated, then go to a bar and swap stories about me and play some music. No overpriced tearsapalooza for me, thank you. If there were ever any doubts on my part about it, they were totally put to rest at my mother’s funeral. I mean seriously----bubblegum pink lipstick on an 82-year-old, 70 pound woman who had been beaten by Parkinson’s? Count ME out!

It is fortunate that mortuaries are starting to recognize the fact that there are about as many different approaches to death as there are people in the world. And if you ever decide to take a slightly twisted look at the industry, get your hands on the latest copy of The Red Book from those crazy kids in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. I never realized, for example, that there are specific protocols for burials at sea. It makes sense, I guess, to maintain some semblance of dignity in the matter, but past a certain depth, who’s gonna know? Some blabbermouth tuna? A CI sea bass?

But back to Wal-Mart selling caskets: I doubt very seriously if they’d be quite up to the furniture-grade offerings that you could get from those nice monks in Iowa. But they might consider the nifty line of very artistic urns that I’ve seen for sale lately. Anyhow, it all puts me to remembering a place from my childhood: Wild Woody’s on Noland Road in Independence, Missouri. I remember going in with Mom and Dad and seeing an old-fashioned toe-pincher coffin hanging from the ceiling. Hey, this is the same place that gave you Crazy Larry’s Stereo Store. (Entre nous, I really think they oughta have a LONG talk with Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd about that “Wild-and-Crazy” stuff, you know?)

I see some similarity at work……Wild Woody’s selling stuff real cheap, Wal-Mart following that example with a slightly cleaner setup. But then again, I tend to go to Target. And I don’t see them making room in their stores for the latest from Batesville.