A Brilliant Goodbye

Hunter S. Thompson is in those fireworks. His ashes, anyway (and if they weren’t entirely ashes before, they are now). Damn, that’s an awesome way to go.

I personally intend to be cremated, since weighing my survivors down with thousands of dollars of wholly unnecessary funeral expenses is not really the way I wish to be remembered. Then I want my ashes formed into the shape of a garden gnome, the kind that ironic hipsters steal and then send all over the world, photographing each place they go to and sending pictures back to the owner (which I assume would be someone I know). I think that would be fairly amusing.

12 Comments on “A Brilliant Goodbye”

  1. I’m more of a lawn flamingo person, myself.

    (That said, it’s entirely possible to have a burial that doesn’t cost umpty-ump dollars.)

  2. quite a fine way to go
    however my personal favorite remains
    Rasheed Roland Kirk’s

    he left instructions for his ashes
    to be very finely ground
    and mixed with a large quantity
    of prime herb
    which was to be smoked at a gathering
    of all his loved ones…


    which is a bit like the boy
    who, when his security blanket
    was down to the size of a large postage stamp,
    ate it

  3. A long long time ago – probably when I was only barely a teenager, at best guess – I read something which concerned somebody who was accidentally buried when they weren’t quite dead. Not an uncommon story, by any means, but something about this one really stuck in the recesses of my psyche. I distinctly remember that for some reason the body was disinterred, and was found to have broken and torn fingers from clawing at the coffin lid…

    Ever since then, I’m damned if I’m going any other way than being burnt up – ideally on a pyre whilst laments are being sung and mead is being quaffed, but that might be a little unrealistic.

    And yes, the second part of Kill Bill did freak me the hell out.

    As to the main subject of the post, if there was ever a more suitable use of “It’s how he would have wanted it”, I can’t think of one.

  4. Ever since then, I’m damned if I’m going any other way than being burnt up

    Have you seen the X-Files episode “Hell Money”? ;)

  5. Ever since then, I’m damned if I’m going any other way than being burnt up

    Have you seen the X-Files episode “Hell Money”? ;)

    Or Scrooged?


  6. Modern embalming kills you, just in case you weren’t dead (the death certificate prevents it from being murder, just in case you are dead). The first thing they do is sever the spine, with a knife.

    After that the chemicals pretty much make certain.

    For those, like myself, who have religious/philosophical objections to embalming, well you pays your money, you takes your chances.

    Maia’s grandfather was cremated. We have a few bits of him on the shelf. A small bit of his ashes were made into a pottery glaze and used on a pot she made. Her mother did the same.

    It came out sharp, cranky and corssgrained, much as he was when he died.

    If I get cremated, I want something similar done. I know we will be doing that when her mother passes (God forbid it be anytime soon).


  7. My wife won’t go for it, but I thought i’d be cool to be cremated and then have my ashes mixed in with steel to form the carbon-steel blade of a broadsword.

    Is that your father’s sword?

    No, that sword is my father.

  8. I’ve always been a donate my body for spare parts and med students guy. Hopefully, I’ll be saving lives or at least improving them, and a last-act burst of good kharma can’t hurt. Then, my friends and family can take the money they would have spent on a cremation or funeral and have a grand wake, or donate money in my name to charity, or whatever they feel they need to do…

  9. the “taking photos of a stolen garden gnome
    and sending them to the owner” is actually a plot
    part of the french movie “amelie”.

    which i am sure scalzi knows, i am just plugging
    the movie which is quite charming.

  10. My father died this spring and he was cremated, according to his wishes. I always thought cremation would be cheap, but the whole thing still cost over $1,000–and that was bare-bones, no service, basic black box cremation. I cannot imagine the amount of money that goes into that business. The thing that really amazed me was the amount of money the newspapers get from publishing obituaries. We only ran a few lines and that was over $100. Those obituaries that run the length of a page must cost a fortune.

  11. My husband Lyndon told me that he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes buried under an oak tree in his home village. But he also wanted me to keep some of his ashes so that he’d always be with me.

    “Not a problem. Do you mind if I change them into a diamond and wear them in a ring?” I asked.

    After his eyeballs retracted, I explained about LifeGem, a company that will take cremated ashes, extract the carbon from them, and use it to make man-made blue and yellow diamonds. He liked the idea, so 8 oz. of his ashes will eventually be turned into a blue diamond.

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