Whistling as the Hearse Goes By, and Morbid Humor

The only thing worse than a monster truck hearse would have to be the mini-van-as-hearse which sort of strikes me as being cheap.  I really don’t want to make my last trip in a modified Grand Caravan.

Something about this van just screams, “LAME!”   Please don’t take me on my first leg of my journey to the Great Beyond in a Mom van. Especially a Grand Caravan- a vehicle noted for having a top speed of 45MPH going downhill in a windstorm.  If that’s how life after death starts out, then I can envision heaven not as a mansion with many rooms, but as the Motel 6.  I know they leave the light on for you, but I was sort of hoping eternity might prove to be a bit more exciting than free HBO and a continental breakfast.    If I were into pomp and circumstance surrounding funerals- and I doubt if the two or three people who make it to my funeral will really care- but if I were there to enjoy the festivities, I’d want a really classy hearse, and nothing says classy quite like the old Caddys:

That’s my idea of a hearse. One of those would have been great for transporting band equipment back in the day too, but a ’70 Caddy like the one pictured above would have been equipped with either a 472 or 500 cubic inch V8 engine. That would be either 7.7 or 8.2 liters, if you think about engine displacement in liters like I do.  In the world of imports engine displacement is always measured in liters, and automotive (even the domestics, since about 1980 or so) uses metric measurements in general, so you get used to it.  I can see why. It’s sort of lame to think the displacement of your car’s engine is 92 cubic inches, when 1.5 liters sounds better in a  strange sort of way.   The old Caddy with either of those behemoth V8s (and a horrendously inefficient four barrel carburetor- no fuel injection back then!) would have sucked up tons of gasoline, on top of being rather pricey to maintain.  It would have looked awesome though.

Then again, since I’ve had a lot of exposure to things automotive, it would stand to reason I would want to be a bit on the dramatic/traditional side.

There are some things I simply can’t change, so I can either get my undies in a bunch about them, or find the humor in them.  The challenge to find the humor in the things that perplex has proven to be both fun and educational.

The Brits (God love them, because they speak English and have worse teeth than American rednecks, which is amazing in a weird sort of way in and of itself) have elevated morbid humor to an art form.  Benny Hill was known for his irreverent treatment of everything from classic literature (his spoof on Gone With the Wind is hilarious) to sex and death.  Monty Python dealt with death throughout The Meaning of Life and in the classic spot in The Quest for the Holy GrailAmericans can do a good job at morbid humor too, (the Kentucky Fried Movie’s spoof United Appeal for the Dead is simply classic) though there’s something super silly about the way the Brits do it.

I don’t know why I have seem to have found a strange comfort surrounding the subject of death.  I remember being terrified at Girl Scout camp (now there’s an adventure- sleeping in tents and using outhouses) when we went to an old graveyard to do grave rubbings with sheets of paper and crayons.  Today I would find the old tombstones fascinating, but not then.  Most of the girls were more creeped out by the potential to encounter bugs and snakes.  I wasn’t fond of  bugs or snakes either, (especially flying insects) but at that time just the idea of  being that close to dead people really creeped me out. 

Perhaps the closer we get to the grave, the more we get comfortable with the inevitability of death.

Just yesterday someone was calling looking for a recently deceased co-worker.  I didn’t talk to the person but I did overhear the conversation.  “The person who handles that is not available at the moment,” was the response.  Hell, be honest about it.  He’s out permanently. It’s true he’s not available, but the person who did talk to the inquirer should have let him know that it’s not just a matter of so-and-so being on vacation or out of the office for a bit.

It’s not the end.  Yet.

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