Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Crispness

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, cremation, red lobster, urns

It is an inescapable fact of life that as we age, the advertisers who have paid for our demographic information will do their best to advertise products which they feel will appeal to our age-appropriate needs and passions. Not to mention our declining ability to make good fiscal decisions.

Which is why those of us in the Jarlsberg household have grown used to getting mailers and phone calls offering us invitations to retirement/investment seminars, annuity offers, brochures for cruise vacations, great deals on "to your door" catheter deliveries, Social Security supplemental insurance, and seemingly benign catalogs offering everything from compression socks and elevated toilet seats to anaconda-sized vibrating ding-dongs, and high-power "personal" vacuum pumps which, if you're not feeling romantic, look perfectly capable of milking the cows in record time.

But with all that said, we hit a hilarious new low the other day when we received a big, cheery postcard letting us know that we could enjoy a FREE LUNCH AT RED LOBSTER just for sitting through a fun-filled seminar on getting cremated.


The mother and daughter on the invitation (shown above, though we added the flames) look like there couldn't possibly be a more enjoyable outing than enjoying some crab cakes and cheesy bisquits while hearing how long your body will have to roast over open flames in order for the bones to get crunchy enough for grinding, and what will happen to anything foreign which was still in your body, like fillings, a titanium hip joint, or perhaps an anaconda-sized vibrating ding-dong.

We can't really think of a topic which would make us less enthusiastic about visiting Red Lobster, though we have to admit that we're still considering attending just so that when the waiter comes for our order, we can say "I think I'll have the blackened..." (point at other guest) "that guy."

Not that we're against cremation. When the time comes, we're looking forward to that being our big, smudgy, final carbon footprint insult to Bill Nye, Al Gore, and Leonardo DeCaprio.

Plus, cremation can be a huge money-saver over traditional burial. For instance, our own parents had their "cremains" stored in a beautifully painted cookie tin which had been purchased at a garage sale only months before being pressed into service. "It will be handy for something," our father said presciently.

Similarly, we'd like our own ashes to be kept in an urn which is unpretentious, a bit fun, and (like us) extremely cheap. A quick look online turned up these potential receptacles, all of which have varying degrees of appeal...

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, cremation, red lobster, urns
Haunted house, Frog Prince, Cthulu, or KFC bucket? So many tough choices!
Alternately, if our family doesn't want us haunting our own home, they can cast the ashes into a few places we've suggested (including scenic vistas, the eyes of our enemies or, if subtlety is the goal, baked into brownies to be given as gifts).

In which case we'd still want an elegant and expensive-looking (albeit empty) urn bearing our name to be placed on the fireplace mantle and subsequently have it filled with hard pretzel chunks which could be casually munched for the sole purpose of freaking out sensitive guests.

We're not sure what laws apply to this sort of thing, which is why we're really looking forward to taking part in a robust question-and-answer session when we visit Red Lobster.


mamafrog said...

That frog is a-dor-a-ble and I would take it with the pretzel chunks, one of my favorite snacks! Right up my sense of humor!!

jimp8606 said...

KFC Bucket is hilarious , nothing like going out like a fast food "extra crispy" 12 piece dinner, but also the added microaggression of a Southern plantation owner to trigger snowflakes for years after my entry into the hereafter. Thank you!

Mike L said...

Save the cruise brochures. Cruises end up being cheaper than an old folks home if you can handle an inside cabin.

REM1875 said...

Lunch at 'Dead Lobster'.........and you were wondering where to take that online romance for the all important first date?

One way or the other some are going to see flames on their exit......

'Waiter suddenly for some odd reason I don't feel like anything off the grill'
Waiter: "Well if ya buy what they are selling you will...."

Mrs Rem explained to me in some colorful comments that she is not overjoyed with my offer-- even after I explained I was was not planning on a short term policy.......

Unknown said...

RE: ...Crispness
One of the best bits from this very sick creative mind. I am so glad I found SJ. Thank you. Even, though, I may again start opening those free-lunch-for-seniors direct mail invitations (oooh, aren't the foil seals elegant?).

Joseph ET said...

Here’s the way we cut the volume of business third class mail to near nothing.

When a postage paid envelope is included, we stuff a page of the mailing that contains our name into it and mail it back. We use a red pen to write “no thanks” on the stuffed page. It’s only fair, because that’s what they want. The Post Office charges them about $2.50 for that service. Soon our names were removed from those mailing list that they sell to each other. This also helps the Post Office earn a few bucks.

As soon as we retired we started getting numerous unwanted phone calls daily. I purchased a “Digitone call blocker Pro”. Once a number is saved to this device it will pick-up the call on the first ring, keep the line open for about eight seconds, then disconnect. Doing the pick-up creates a long distance charge for those that are out of the area. They apparently don’t like paying for not talking to you and will soon remove you from the list they sell around. We still get a few calls but not many and we get less and less.

I also use a plug-in for Firefox called “Cookie Manager” to delete cookies before I leave most web sites. I’m getting fewer ads for stuff they think I was looking at.

Once had a friend that would attend to all the free meal offers just to eat free. I don't have that kind of patience.

Unknown said...

I had a brother who attended (almost) all free meal offers; he's dead.

I'm not sayin'...

Bobo the Hobo said...

I see we're on the same mailing lists. My father's funeral cost multiple thousands of dollars and I swore I would not do that so I'm down with cremation. That said, I won't endure the sales pitch, even for a "free" meal at Red Lobster (I might be easy but I'm not cheap.)

Fish Out of Water said...

For many years, AARP has chosen to fill our mailbox with blandishments for membership, to insurance. As they were among one of the major forces getting one of the most divisive laws rammed through Congress and down our throats: Obamacare, whenever something from them arrives in the mail, I utter something unprintable, and it winds up unopened, in the recycle bin.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@MamaFrog- I'm not sure if you meant the Frog Prince (which is funny, but would be a weird presence) or the frog with the sleepy eyes and gentle smile (a much more comforting critter to have around). I'm perfectly serious about ANY of the shown receptacles working for me. The dumber it looks, the more I get to enjoy one last joke.

@jimp8606- And who doesn't want an eternity that's "finger lickin' good?"

@Mike L- I hadn't looked at it in quite that way, but you make an excellent point!

@REM1875- It's been made abundantly clear to me that if I go to the lunch, I'm going alone.

@MMGCDICK- Thanks for the nice remarks! And yes, some of the most impressive looking snail mail we get these days is related to sales pitches for the elderly.

@Joseph ET- I've done the "sending something back" trick several times. It's quite satisfying.

Also, for people getting too many sales calls on the phone, there's a free service (!) for landlines (a small charge if you want it on a cell phone) that works very well for us. It's at (the name means "no more robot calls") and we love it.

@MMGCDICK- Yes, meals!

@Bobo the Hobo- I think the flat rate these folks (the cheerily named "Neptune Society") are offering is more like $800 for the whole process, which is a heckuva lot cheaper than being buried. Granted, you may have to spend a year in their tanning bed - but still, the price is right.

@Fish Out of Water- I have never forgiven AARP for their betrayal of the people they claimed to be advocates of. I make a point of ripping their mailings in half before discarding them.

Geoff King said...

My father donated his body to a university medical school. After they were done practicing surgery on it, they cremated his remains. They also held a tasteful memorial service for him and all the recent donors, plus they put a bronze plaque with his name on it in a cemetary. All this was done at no cost to our family.
In today's age of virtual reality surgery training, I doubt that there is much call for cadavers anymore, so I would be happy if my remains were just dumped in a canyon somewhere.
Buzzards and coyotes gotta eat too!

Alan said...

I got burned real bad when I was only 3 years old. I'm covered in scars. I don't ever want to be burned again even if I'm dead.

Fred Ciampi said...

When a friend passed on his widow put his ashes into a nice clay pot and set it on the mantel. When she held a memorial for him at home there were quite a few friends in attendance. One rotund fellow was smoking a cigar and thought the clay pot was an ashtray and flicked his cigar ashes in it. After the party Mrs Widow was cleaning up, happened to look into the urn and remarked "If I didn't know you were dead, I would swear you were gaining weight".

Personally, I want my ashes planted with an apple tree. Mmmm, apple pie ah la me.

Unknown said...

When my husband's daughter was a young girl (probably 8) he walked into the house after work and found her sitting in a chair, watching cartoons and holding the urn with my husband's father's ashes in it. He asked her what she was doing and she said she just wanted to hold him to keep him close to her because she was "fresh outta grandpas". Now that is a cute story of how one little girl handled grandpa's death. Cremation is how I plan to go. I guess I just have visions of little worms in the ground and I don't think I could stand to know my body was being eaten by them (humming "the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out...). That aside, when we are gone we are gone and there isn't much we can do about it, unless haunting a mother-in-law or ex-spouse is on the table. Then, I might be up for that... actually, I loved my mother-in-law.

Sortahwitte said...

I told my wife that I wanted to be put into a Hefty bag (extra large, silver) and be shot out of a circus cannon or cremated. She said she had no problem turning me into a crispy critter.

mothersmurfer said...

I just found this one. It would be an awesome urn!

Walter L. Stafford said...

Does it hurt to be cremated?

Alfonso Bedoya said...

Walter, think of it as just another warm experience.

Dan said...

One "cremains" container the funeral parlor guy told us about was an ammo can. Yup, the kind we used in the military for stripper clips or linked ammo for machine guns. I really like that idea.

Emmentaler Limburger said...

Pheh. I told my family just to flip my earthly remains into a dumpster somewhere. MUCH cheaper than any other method, and very exciting for the trash folks (first pick of everything, and all they can eat for free!). If hallowed grounds are required, due to my Catholic faith: churches have dumpsters, too...

Pete (Detroit) said...

You had me at 'pretzel chunks' - if I didn't know better than to drink while reading, it would have been a moist laptop, to be sure!
"Frog Prince" - is that the grumpy space alien looking one?
Agreed, a bucket of 'extra crispy' is HIGH-larious..

Unsolicited mailers - the ones w/ pre-paid envelopes get treated as you suggest.
Possibly including a baggie of sand, w/ a note "Pound This"
AARP does not pre-pay any more, too tired of sand, I suppose

Being set out to become one w/ nature is a lovely thought, for low density population areas

Scattering ashes TENDS to be frowned upon, so be stealthy!

Sandy - Other than a plain pine box (and probably those too) Caskets are lined and sealed, the hole you're lowered in to is in a 6 inch thick concrete box (major part of the cost of burial) - the whole process being designed to keep you OUT of the environment / recycling. You'll never see worms.
Sadly. Recycling is good...
But hey, most of you isn't there, anyway - at the funeral home, they gut you and dispose of your organs (they start to rot pretty quickly) and then start the 'restoration' and makeup process.
Whole thing seems a great waste of time and money, but hey, some people say it helps provide closure to see that empty husk on display...

Grandparents were getting on, and apparently Mom had had The Talk w/ them. She and I got on the topic of funerals, and she suddenly says "You know what your Grandma wants?"
Thought about it - "Cremation - it's cheaper" (She was famous for squeezing two dimes from a nickel)...

Alan - sorry to hear it...

Dan, Ammo can is cool, but being made INTO ammo would be amazing!

Then again, if you're rich and crazy enough (looking at YOU, Hunter Thompson) you can get a rocket, and get fired towards space.. Don't recall if he actually made it.

Stan da Man said...

Emmentaler - In Re church dumpster - bonus points for dressing you as a nun first.
After the furor dies down (koff) and they eventually ID you, surely SOMEONE will ask if you often went about dressed as a nun.
"Oh, it was just a habit of his"

Ben Rumson said...

All good selections,I would like to submit an idea. A ceramic vessel of Keith Moon as "Uncle Urnie"

jlw said...

@ Pete (Detroit)

it was a cannon, not a rocket. Johnny Depp is supposed to have paid for the funeral. $3 million.

Rod said...

Don't know if this is still available; but years ago there was a service for hire that would load the deceased ashes & itty-bits into shotgun shells for firing over one's favorite duck pond or rice field Anyone with a shot shell reloader could do that as well. I thought about it but will come up with something else; like maybe this:

At one scuba diver's request (unknown personally) I once joined in a group favor with many others who helped scatter his ashes on several choice coral reefs all over the world. A close friend of the deceased did the recruiting, packaging & distribution. That small but respectful service on-board the boat by fellow divers just before the dive was nice. Divers are great people. We did our part in the Isla Bahia offshore Honduras just as sunset turned the dive into a night dive,
AND it was during coral spawn. THAT dive definitely went into the log.

John the Econ said...

As Mrs. Econ and myself have aged through the years, we've regularly noticed how we're treated as a demographic. The first realization hit in our late '30s when we we were no longer the "young and desirable" demographic that the majority of the media seeks to attract. The most obvious manifestation of this is the fact that less than 1% of the mass of content that Hollywood spews forth every year is of any interest to us. The second sign was that we no longer even understand advertising anymore because we aren't the target demographic for most of it. We more and more frequently look at each other and ask "What are they trying to sell"? or "Why would we want to buy THAT".

So now we're moving on into the territory that @Stilton is experiencing. It's only the people who sell "Depends" and "walk-in" bathtubs that want to spend money to be on our radar. I know plenty of old folk who'd do anything for a free lunch, but I really can't imagine this. If I only have so much time left, it's certainly is going to be spent doing something better!

But you did give me a great idea regarding Bill Nye, Al Gore, and Leonardo DeCaprio. Perhaps in my final years I'll binge on the most unhealthy of foods to get my weight up to at least 400 pounds, if for no better reason that expanding my final carbon buttprint. I'd much rather go quickly with a stroke than slowly loose myself to dementia anyway.

Don said...

My parents both specified cremation but neglected to say what to do with their ashes. As a result my Dad's ashes sat in their little cardboard box in a cabinet in Mom's kitchen for 21 years.

Meanwhile Mom accepted the free (FREE!) headstone from the VA, which she kept in the house. Occasionally I would have to ask guests not to set their drinks on it. Then Mom had me plant it in the backyard, where she planted some pretty flowers around it.

After Mom's house burned down, Dad's ashes (amazingly undamaged) were the first thing I salvaged. They spent the next six years on a shelf in the back of the barn.

Now both Mom's and Dad's ashes are resting in the basement of my sister's house. Sis recently bought a plot for them in the local pioneer cemetery, but we're not going to make any sudden moves.

By the way, the free (FREE!) VA headstone was made of a low grade, porous marble. It eventually broke off at ground level due to freeze damage.

Colby Muenster said...

I could care less what my survivors do to my dead body, but being launched into space would be really cool (almost zero degrees Kelvin cool, actually!). My wife doesn't like the idea of cremation, so my will just says to bury me in the cheapest coffin available.

I love having fun with the unsolicited offers, and share Stilton's disdain for AARP. Those peckerheads sailed us all up excrement creek, and helped make it so we can't even afford a stinking paddle. They got a "Hillary for Prison" sticker from me one time, and another time, I stuffed that envelope with a big Ziploc bag full of BB's. Yup... now they seem to have stopped sending the post paid envelopes.

Mrs. Muenster and I did recently partake of a nice free dinner from a local investment agency. When we finally met with them, and they saw how pitiful my 401k is, they lost interest in us pretty quickly. My advice? If you decide to take a gamble and pull your 401k money to start a homebuilding business, DO NOT do it when Obama is about to be elected! Of course, my crystal ball was in the shop that day....

LenSatic said...

My favorite offer was from the American Legion: "50% off if redeemed in the next 60 days." My wife thought that was a good deal and we should go for it.


4sleiborg said...

Well, I thought everyone knew that AARP was a big lefty lobbyist.

You must be about my age, Stilton, because that's exactly the kind of crep I get in the mail too. My mail runs about 80% junk, 10% bills, and 10% things I'm actually interested in reading - mostly magazines I subscribe to.

- Pete

Graylady said...

There's also the option to have your ashes made into a diamond through extreme heat and compression. Just imagine your left behind beloved showing the rock to her friends while exclaiming " He never gave me one when he was alive, but I've got him forever now!"

pgm1972 said...

I had made this a while ago, but considering today's topic, and in light of recent events... What a difference an "r" would make. :-)

George said...

Alan, that's so very sad to hear. My thoughts to you sir. Life is about perspective.

REM1875 said...

Ohh Ohh I love that idea - discreetly placed in a kimchee Vat.

REM1875 said...

I want my body shot full of holes, stabbed, tomahawked, speared, run over and a flag pole shoved up my butt and left along side of the hwy so my sheriffs dept has something to do in their spare time

pgm1972 said...

"Oh, great! Now we have to send someone out to take the flag down at night and put it up again the next morning. Thanks, REM1875." Signed, "The Sheriff" :-)

CenTexTim said...

I can't believe no one has mentioned cryonics a la Ted Williams.

Mike aka Proof said...

I need to know if they have a layaway plan!

JustaJeepGuy said...

Back in 1974, when I was in the Navy, I had a bud who had worked at a funeral home before he joined. He said that when you're cremated, they only put enough ashes in the urn to fill it. The rest they just toss.

He also said he had burned one old guy and as he poured the ashes into the urn, he heard a "CLUNK" and found the guy's artificial hip bone--the ball part. He kept that and was going to make a gearshift knob for his Volkswagen van. This was the van on which he had painted "For Madmen Only"... (Hermann Hesse reference, for those who didn't know)

Personally, after I croak my last, I want to be thrown whole into the ocean. Just like buzzards, fish gotta eat too.

REM1875 said...

pgm I don't like the sheriff-does it show?

NVRick said...

I've done the "stuff the envelope and send it back" thing numerous times.
I think they may be catching on. A few days ago, (I forget who), sent me a solicitation. I was about to stuff it and send it back when I noticed that it needed a stamp! These @$$#0!e$ actually expected me to pay to respond to their cr@p!! Not a chance in hell.

Skip said...

I told her to just put me out on the curb on Thursday.

Judi King said...

I really don't care what happens to my dead body because I'LL BE DEAD!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Geoff King- I've considered donating my body to science, but suspect that they'd only parade my corpse around as a warning against living a sedentary lifestyle. The treatment your father got sounds entirely honorable though, and no doubt helped make some doctors better at their craft.

When you mentioned buzzards, I was reminded of the "sky burials" of Tibet which are all about turning the deceased into a bird buffet. Interesting reading if you care to Google.

@Alan- Considering your experience, I don't blame you a bit. By the way, I'll bet if I attend the cremation seminar, they never use the word "burn" but instead have a long list of handy euphemisms.

@Fred Ciampi- Somewhere, a drummer did a rim shot at the end of your joke about gaining weight. And I like the idea of becoming crisp, sweet apples. Reminds me of a story I read a long time ago, supposedly true, about an old coffin being discovered underground - and inside was the exact replica of a body formed by tree roots which had invaded the coffin and used the actual body as fertilizer. An apple tree, in fact - the one that people said always had the sweetest apples.

@Sandy Link- I love the "fresh outta grandpas" story. And like you, I dislike the whole idea of burial. Although I've always found cemeteries to be pleasant places (albeit not when attending actual funerals).

@Sortahwitte- I think the circus cannon approach sounds like Youtube gold, especially if it's perched on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Although if one goes to all that trouble, the Hefty Bag should probably have a stars and stripes "Evel Knevel" motif.

@mothersmurfer- Now THAT got a real laugh from me! Perhaps the best urn ever!

@Walter L Stafford- Depends on how much sunscreen you're wearing.

@Alfonso Bedoya- I like your perspective.

@Dan- As long as you don't mind an eternity of jokes about being a man of a certain calibre.

@Emmentaler Limburger- I like the Dumpster notion. Although it would have drawbacks in the summer if someone else had beaten your survivors to the spot a few days earlier.

@Pete (Detroit)- I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to scatter my parents' ashes at their eventual resting sites, but I didn't much care. By the way, in order to mix my parents ashes I had to put them in a big silver bowl that my father used to serve his signature Blue Cheese popcorn in. It's still the "official" bowl I eat popcorn out of - I have a lot of faith in dish soap.

And your talk of the concrete grave liner reminds me of an experience I once had (under bad circumstances) with the sleaziest funeral home salesman ever. When selecting coffins, I simply said "cost is a factor" and he shot back "well for $75 you can get a pauper's grave." Bastard. On the plus side, he's probably dead now - so I win.

@Stan da Man- It's worth doing just for the punchline.

@Ben Rumson- I can tell from your suggestion that you're not one to fiddle about.

@jlw- $3 million strikes me as a pretty steep price tag. For that amount of money, I'd want to be blown out of the guns of Navarone.

@Rod- If my ashes were loaded into shotgun shells, I'd leave a list of people who I'd want to get shot in the ass.

I like the coral reef idea, and it seems appropriate. The first "cremains" I ever saw were my father's, and I was relieved that they looked like the gravel that goes on the bottom of an aquarium (albeit without the neon colors).

james daily said...

Stilt: That will be my last BBQ. I have enjoyed BBQ all my life and my final wish is to be the guest of honor at one more. Then, off to be planted in Arlington National Cemetery. (Arlington, TX). However, my second choice would be thrown in a well so the widow could say I went straight to well.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@John the Econ- We share the same experience as the Econ household. Commercials for trendy products leave us baffled, while the commercials targeted at our age group leave us appalled. Good times.

By the way, I actually considered a walk-in tub but decided that the whole concept is stupid. You can't use the door when the tub is full, obviously, so that means you just have to sit there naked while the darn thing fills. It's like an old nudist sitting in an open convertible in a heavy rain storm. Which is a sentence I'm pretty sure no one has ever written before.

@Don- Being stored in the basement is no fun - that's why I like the more playful urns I showed. Just because you're dead doesn't mean you can't be fun to have around!

And I had to laugh at the notion of taking a headstone because it was free and keeping it in the house. That's something my Dad would definitely have done.

@Colby Muenster- One of the problems faced by those who market to aging coots is that we have both the time and inclination to screw with them. Hey, we have to take our satisfactions where we find them.

And Mrs. J and myself actually attended a Medicare supplement seminar that proved to be pretty helpful in setting up policies. Sadly, no meal was served.

@LenSatic- As frugal as I am, I still don't believe that a coupon's expiration date should take precedence over your own.

@Pete Madsen- If you get 10% things you're interested in reading, you're way ahead of me. At this point, the only benefit I get from snail mail is the walk to the mailbox.

@Graylady- I'm skeptical; I've spent my whole life taking heat and being under stress, and I look nothing like a diamond.

@pgm1972- Good one!

@George- Indeed. We all have scars, but not all are visible - and certainly not acquired at such an early age.

@REM1875- Wow, the whole kimchee angle never occurred to me. And now that it has, I may be off kimchee for awhile.

And I like the idea of staging your corpse to look like an exotic murder. Maybe "solving the case" could be a fun interactive game at the funeral!

@CenTexTim- I used to be really interested in cryonics, but I've lost interest in the idea of being brought back into a world where I'm completely out of synch with everything and everyone else. Turns out I was able to accomplish that just by hanging around long enough.

@Mike aka Proof- It would be worth going to Red Lobster just to ask.

@JustaJeepGuy- I've also heard that they take a lax attitude about mixing your ashes with those of the previous customer. "Parts is parts," right?

@NVRick- The gall of some people!

@Skip- That should be fine as long as your collection day isn't the following Wednesday.

@Judi King- Pre-planning is really about those whom you leave behind, and how best to annoy them.

@James Daily- I guess the BBQ route is okay if it's a smoker rather than being turned on a spit.

And because my mind works in a strange way, your suggestion of being tossed down a well made me think it should be a wishing well - so your loved ones could actually wish you were well. After which, when the body is discovered and examined, they'll be shocked to learned that their wish came true...but you drowned.

American Cowboy said...

Just to throw my "Two Cents" in about postage paid advertising. I like to take advertiser A's junk, put it all in advertiser B's return envelope, B's junk in C's envelope, and so on down the line, seal them up and mail them. It's the little things that give me pleasure.

Igor said...

My mother is in a 3 lb coffee can. I'm not kidding!

And what is wrong with Red Lobster, anyway. Those cheezy biscuits are like crack...

MAX Redline said...

And I thought it was just me. I've been getting invitations for cremation dinners for a couple of years, but don't get many phone calls because I installed Nomorobo (which is free; I suspect they built the software just to tick off the telemarketers). Mostly what I get in the mail is a car sales pitch or a credit pitch.

I'm "aging into Medicare", as they call it, so this should be interesting.

I guess the BBQ route is okay if it's a smoker rather than being turned on a spit.

Wouldn't the smoker give you lung cancer?