January 25, 2009

I Just Called to Say…
by docsmartypants

I came across the most extraordinary article this morning. It details a growing new trend that I hadn’t yet heard about:

Cellphones, along with technologies like BlackBerrys, have become so important that many cannot imagine being buried without their “third arm.” While it may raise eyebrows, mourners have been known to call the deceased’s phone as the casket is lowered into the grave. Since a ringtone reflects an individual’s personality, the jingle acts as a modern-day Taps.

Manhattan Defense Attorney, Marian Seltzer, buried her husband’s fully-charged Motorola along with his body when he died of pancreatic cancer three years ago. Although the battery expired long ago, she continues to pay the Verizon bill so that she and her children can regularly hear his voice and leave messages on his voice mail.

She had his cell number engraved on his headstone. Seltzer’s husband, John Jacobs, may be dead, but he’s still taking messages. In fact, I called him last week. Hearing him tell me he’d call me back sent a shiver up my spine. (The Community Newspapers – 1.25.09)

Ignoring for the moment the absurdity of paying that much money every month to keep a cell phone on for a dead person, does this strike anyone else as creepy? Maybe it is sweet, but it feels a little creepy to me. I guess maybe it gives mourners a sense of connection to the departed, but I feel like every time I called I would be thinking: This phone is ringing in a dark casket next to the rotting remains of my loved one. The whole thing just seems really sad. And unfortunately it is giving Larry ideas. He’s already planning out some elaborate after-death text-messaging thing.

As for me, I barely use my phone in life, forget about sending it to the grave with me. If you want to put something in there that I care about, may I suggest my Life on Mars box set, a case of Dr Pepper, a few books, some Curly Wurlys, my old phases of the moon watch, and the Pulitzer I will doubtless have won by then.

But seriously, while we’re on the topic of burial wishes, I may as well share mine with you all. I don’t want to be buried. I think I’d like to be cremated (if you promise to make absolutely sure I am dead before you let them do it). Even though I don’t want to be buried, I would like some sort of marker to let people know I was here. I’ve been saying for some time that when I die I’d like something tasteful and simple, like the Albert Memorial, but a little fancier. Obviously some modifications will be needed. I’ve started sketching out some revisions. It’s a work in progress, so I welcome any suggestions.


posted under Rants
13 Comments to

“I Just Called to Say…”

  1. On January 25th, 2009 at 6:00 pm Larry Says:

    Will the chalice consist of an eternal flame? And what type of lighting do you want at night? There are so many decisions to make.

  2. On January 25th, 2009 at 6:12 pm docsmartypants Says:

    Yes to the eternal flame. And I tell you, could we go with some sort of disco/rave lighting effects? While I am thinking about it, we’re going to need a really big disco ball mounted over the statue of me.

  3. On January 25th, 2009 at 8:45 pm Sheri Says:

    Yeah, the cell phone thing is creepy. But your memorial shows possibilities!

    Just cremate me and throw me out in the Pacific Ocean. Part of me can be tossed in the Atlantic Ocean since Larry is near there. And part of me can be sprinkled over the graves of the two babies in Vegas. And you can cancel the cell phone contract. No text messages for me after death, Larry!

    And please — no putting strands of my hair in a locket or having my ashes fused into a stone to wear. That’s creepy too.


  4. On January 25th, 2009 at 9:01 pm Larry Says:

    We’ll there won’t be any question what to do with my mothers ashes now. So much for turning your ashes into a diamond.

    I like the idea of shooting my corpse into space to explore universe, but my job has given me many other ideas on ways I can bring joy and torment from the grave.

  5. On January 27th, 2009 at 3:02 am Unruly Redhead Says:

    I like the idea of a statue of Larry weeping. Good work on that.

    But I seem to remember the band of monkeys from Salem playing a big part in your memorial scenario. And where is Helonja being honored in all of this? Some details need attention. I’d like to see the revision before we pin anything down.

  6. On January 27th, 2009 at 10:40 pm docsmartypants Says:

    Yes, the musical monkeys! I did think of that. I see them maybe contained in a glass box at the foot of my statue. As for where the great island nation of Helonja will be honored, well…isn’t the entire structure in some way a testament to its glory? But also I am thinking a Helonja mural would look splendid in the section above the statement of my awesomeness.

    All excellent ideas!

  7. On January 29th, 2009 at 10:38 pm Kathy Says:

    I love the redesign, and hope that you blog much more frequently from now on! Miss you!

  8. On January 29th, 2009 at 10:40 pm docsmartypants Says:

    Kathy! How’s it going? What’s the address for your blog?

  9. On January 29th, 2009 at 10:41 pm Kathy Says:

    Oh, and on the topic of your post, I am completely wigged out when I get the answering machine of a bereaved family and the deceased’s voice is still on the outgoing message! Sometimes years later! ACK! Save it to listen to yourself if you like, but don’t let it catch people who call you off guard!

  10. On January 30th, 2009 at 2:35 pm jlrpuck Says:

    *rests chin on hand, ponders*

    I concur–it *definitely* needs more glitter. Like, a semi-truckful more glitter.

    Then? It’ll be *perfect*.

  11. On January 30th, 2009 at 8:31 pm docsmartypants Says:

    “JEN SAYS MORE GLITTER!!!” ::claps hands:: “PATRICK!”

    “Make it so,” says Patrick Stewart, tossing a handful of glitter in the air to signal the glitter truck drivers.

    “Fan-tastic!” says Christopher Eccleston.

    “Ridiculous,” says John Simm.

  12. On February 1st, 2009 at 8:22 pm EmilyTakesTokyo Says:

    The cellphone thing: my brother wants us to do that when he dies, but not for sentiment – that way if he’s been buried alive, he can text us to dig him up. Hope he gets a signal down there.

    Your memorial ideas are a good start, but why a STATUE of Larry weeping? Couldn’t you keep him artificially alive for all eternity, mourning your death in person? And a fountain powered by the tears of children, of course.

  13. On February 1st, 2009 at 11:18 pm docsmartypants Says:

    Ooh, I like the idea of a living, weeping Larry and a fountain powered by child tears! You should think about a career in insane memorial monument design.

    Also, when I first saw that article I thought it was going to be about people being buried with cell phones in case they weren’t really dead. That I might have understood, though I seriously doubt that most phones would work well six feet under.

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